As the days get shorter and the weather turns colder, all those sunny days spent on the beach and playing in the park are coming to an end. Kids don’t stop wanting to have fun just because the seasons are changing though, so chances are you’ll soon find your house overrun by ‘playdates’ every weekend.
Feet thundering through the house, shrieks of delight echoing through the ceiling and sticky fingerprints on everything in reach – it can be stressful, but follow these handy hints and you can make perfect playdates plain sailing.
A home that seemed perfectly safe for your own child can suddenly seem a death-trap when you’re faced with the responsibility of safeguarding someone else’s little treasure. Slippery floors, steep steps and sharp corners abound in most houses, but see if there’s anything really glaring that you can cover up – and perhaps invest in stylish kids’ bedroom furniture that’s designed with safety in mind.
If you’re artistic, you can even stick up a cartoon sign warning about sudden drops and corners where you should reduce your speed. Some children get funny about pets, so ask the parents in advance. If they’re allergic, they can still come over – just keep the pet safely away from them, and clean thoroughly before the playdate to reduce stray hairs causing sneezing.
As for activities, children’s imaginations rarely need much encouragement to run wild. If the kids are looking awkward though, you can step in with suggestions that they help you to bake or build something, or start telling them a story and get them to finish it themselves.
Naturally, it’s possible that squabbles can occur, but using the most shareable toys – games, building blocks and colouring pens, for example – will hopefully avoid any temper tantrums. It’s usually best to let them work it out for themselves, but try and listen in to see if adult intervention is required.
Finally, don’t forget that playdates don’t just help children socialise – you might well find that you and your baby have the same taste in friends and instantly click with the parent! Whether you’re sharing tips, swapping frustrations or laughing over your kids cutest exclamations, you’re guaranteed to have some common ground, so try and set aside some time to chat in between pick-ups and drop-offs