Tips on organising a playdate with someone new
17 January, 2024
Give your little one a nudge towards a potential new buddy by organising a playdate or two.
Friends are the best – someone to play with, share jokes and giggles, a pal to pair up with for games, sit with at lunch or to comfort when things go wrong. As Piglet said in A A Milne’s classic children’s book Winnie the Pooh: “It’s so much more friendly with two”.
Research shows friendships have numerous benefits for children, giving them a sense of belonging and security and making them feel more comfortable in new situations. Having a friend helps teach children important skills such as how to share, take turns and communicate. Friendships also help children to develop empathy.
Parents can help children to establish friendships by creating opportunities for children to play together and get to know each other. Here are our best tips for organising a playdate with someone new:
Keep in simple: Choose a time and location that is convenient, perhaps after daycare or on a Saturday morning.
Involve your child in the planning: Ask your child who they like to play with and invite those children. Starting with one-on-one playdates keeps it low-key and comfortable and creates an opportunity for the children to get to know each other better. Alternatively, a regular group catch up can become a lovely part of your family routine and allows you to watch your child’s friendships develop – it warms the heart! It’s also a good way to identify where they may need help with their social skills.
Meet at a park: A nearby park is a great option because kids love parks! Playground equipment means there’s already endless options for play. Parks with natural play elements such as water or sand are perfect for imaginative play and can encourage children to communicate with each other as they come up with their own games. Parks are also ideal because no-one has to tidy up! And you can politely leave when it suits your family.
Bring a snack: Food brings people together, so consider bringing a plate to share. Sliced fruit, veggie sticks with dip or cheese and crackers are healthy options that are easy for little hands. Food can also be a conversation starter (for the grown-ups too!) and a chance to find out about each other’s likes and dislikes. If your child is likely to be hungry, pack them some more substantial options too.
Bring some extra activities: You may like to bring a ball, hula hoop or a box of chalk to play with. Or if you have a baby or toddler who likes being pushed in a pram, consider bringing a toy pram or trolley for the bigger kids to push along beside you. Scooters are also fun if the park has paths.
Support at Edge Early Learning
It can be hard to meet other parents when children are dropped off and picked up at different times. You may like to write a playdate invitation and speak to our educators about the best way to pass it on. They may be able to pop it in the child’s bag to take home at the end of the day.