How to Host a Successful Toddler Playdate

Most parents know that early socialization is important to their little one’s development. Toddlers begin to learn important interpersonal skills like sharing, communicating, and compromising by spending time with other kids and having the opportunity to practice. Playdates offer kids great opportunities to interact and have fun while also offering parents a chance for some adult conversation and company. Whether you’ve decided to start hosting playdates because you want your little one to get some kid-to-kid interaction, or you’re ready for some adult interaction, check out the tips below for hosting a successful toddler playdate. 

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1. Plan around naps and meals

Most toddlers are at their best when they’re well rested and well fed. Choose a time to host your toddler playdate where your little one is both. Many parents find that their tots are at their best mid-morning and plan playdates around that time.

2. Keep it short

In order to ensure that everyone has a good time and the playdate doesn’t end with one or both little ones in tears, plan for your toddler playdate to last for around and hour or an hour and a half. Many young kids get tired after that amount of time and have trouble being on their best behavior.

3. Supervise but without micromanaging

While it’s important to be present and observant as your toddler plays with their new friend, it’s also important to let them practice working out minor issues independently. Generally, toddlers are fairly adept at moving past interpersonal issues quickly but if one or both toddlers seems to be getting overly frustrated feel free to step in and facilitate their problem-solving.

4. Avoid conflicts before they begin 

Avoid conflicts before they begin by putting away any toys your baby is hesitant to share before their friend arrives and ensuring that your space is toddler proof. It can be helpful to set out a few toys that foster collaborative play such as blocks, kitchen equipment, or dress up supplies. 

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Have you hosted a successful toddler playdate? Tell us about it in the comments!

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How to Host a Successful Toddler Playdate

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. She is writing a memoir on pregnancy, motherhood, and sisterhood and lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. ... More

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