I realize that navigating through parenthood, at every age and stage, can be challenging. One would think that the “fun stuff” like outtings and playdates would be easy- no brainers. But I must admit, when my 2 year old son and I are invited to join for a playdate, I become slightly anxious. Will he share? Will he hit? Will he spill his juice on our friend’s new burber carpet? WILL WE BE INVITED BACK? Or worse: Excommunicated from the cool mom/kid club forever???
Well, according to our resident etiquette and manners guru Lisa Gache of Beverly Hills Manners, there are some fundamental do’s and don’ts to playdates that all parents (and children) should follow to ensure a fun time, and in my case: Friends!
Ø Dress your children appropriately. Make sure they are wearing clean clothes and have at least brushed their teeth, washed their face and brushed their hair.
Ø Arrive on time. Most likely the host child is waiting with anticipation for their friend’s arrival so don’t make them suffer with long delays.
Ø Snacks! If it is a mommy and me play date where the parent is attending, offer to bring a snack of some kind. Homemade breads, cookies, or light salads for lunch are always appreciated. Since new moms don’t get a lot of exercise, a healthy snack is most welcome.
Ø Diaper Duty. If you have an infant or toddler that requires diaper changes, come prepared with ample supplies including wipes and diaper rash crème. The same goes for bottle feeding. Bring your own formula and measuring supplies, bottles, etc.
Ø Do speak to your children about the rules when they are a guest in someone’s home. They are (1) use the magic words, (2) be helpful, (3) clean up your mess, (4) be polite and conversational and (5) refrain from any running in the house or outside voices indoors. Remind them that even if the host child behaves like a monkey, they should behave like an angel.
Ø Teach your children to SHARE. If your child is the host child and they have special items that they know they are not willing to share, then they should put them away for safe keeping. Let them know that all other items are fair game and that they should share them willingly.
Ø Avoid Meltdowns. Do speak to your children about what time you will be picking them up to avoid any potential meltdowns when it comes time to leave.
Ø Please and Thank You’s! Do remind your children to thank the host family that means the parents if they are around as well as the child or children. This always ensures an invitation to return in the future.
Ø (If you’re leaving/dropping your child off): Do make sure to leave your contact numbers so you are reachable. You never know what may arise while your child is on the play date. Anything as insignificant as a spat between the kids, to a sudden allergic reaction or worse a broken leg, may require your immediate attention. Be a responsible parent and have your phone with you at all times in the event you need to come running back to pick up your child.
Ø Sickies, Stay Home! Don’t bring your child to a play date if they are in any way, shape or form, under the weather or god-forbid sick. It is totally unfair to the host family. Ø Don’t arrive late to pick up your child. If you say you will pick them up at 3pm, then make sure you are there at 3pm. If you are running late, you should always phone ahead.
Ø No family allowed. Don’t ask to bring siblings to the play date for your other children. This may put your host in an uncomfortable position. Try to arrange for them to have their own plans separate from the play date.
Ø Take it Easy! Don’t scold or severely discipline your child while on a play date. This only makes everyone uncomfortable and embarrassed. Save any arguments for disciplining for the car ride or the privacy of your own home.
Ø Dress right! Don’t come dressed inappropriately for a play date. If you are a parent attending the play date, don’t wear high heels and skinny jeans with a sexy top. This outfit is constricting and does not allow you to get down and play with the kids.
Ø Don’t be a gossip. You don’t want to be pegged as the mother who always has her knows stuck in other people’s business. Take the high road, give everyone the benefit of the doubt and treat everyone with respect and dignity.
Ø Bragging Rights. DON’T incessantly brag about your child. Everyone thinks their own children are amazing, but it is better to be modest about their accomplishments than to throw them in everyone’s face.
Originally posted on parentsask.com
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