Playdates: The Good and the Horrid

Eliza Clark
August 30, 2013

Here's how we feel about playdates: When they are good, they are very very good. When they are bad they are horrid.

You know what we mean, right?

A great playdate sparks such energy and delight in our little ones. They get swept into imaginative play, try on every costume in the dress-up bin, or invent elaborate pretend scenarios. The experiment with each other's toys, show off their treasures, or examine books together. An idea from one child leads to a new thought from the other, and they go back and forth in a spiral of creativity. What a joy!

A bad playdate, on the other hand, goes like this: The children squabble over toys, and want only the very thing that the other one has. No one can agree on what to play. Mediation prolongs the stand-off but doesn't diffuse it. Harsh words fly, sometimes hands and feet too, and tears flow. What a horror!

So how do we avoid the horror and promote the good? Here are a few tips on organizing happy playdates from a few of our most trusted experts:

  • Playdates work best when they are one-on-one. That means keeping any siblings that are home distracted so the friends can play.
  • Ask your child's preschool teacher for ideas on who would be a good playmate rather than just going by the parents you happen to know.
  • Vary your child's playmates, and don't schedule more than one or two get-togethers a week.
  • Supervise and be ready to offer a more structured activity, like painting or play-doh or baking cookies, if free play is veering off course.
  • Keep the playdate to roughly one and a half hours, and don't be afraid to cut it short if the little ones start getting cranky.

Here's to happy playtime!

From the Parents

Similar Articles

The Savvy Library

From the educational to the whimsical, our Savvy editors help you explore your world. You can search our 1977 articles by keyword, subject, or date.

Notable Selection

Below you'll find some of the more popular selections from the Savvy Library: