Playdates are supposed to be fun, right? Then why do some of them end in conflict and tears? Young children often struggle to share and compromise, so spats can happen during a playdate. Here are 5 things to be aware of when you’re playing host.
If sharing is not one of your child’s strong suits, mitigate the situation before the friend arrives. Ask your child if there are any toys or games they might have difficulty sharing. This often applies to toys they consider to be “special” or those that are new. Remove them for the duration of the playdate to avoid issues.
If, after the playdate begins, a disagreement arises, don’t rush in and try to fix things. Keep an ear open and wait to see if they can resolve it themselves. It’s good to give children the chance to talk it out. Pay special attention to how your child behaves during a conflict. After the playdate, gently offer a tip or two for next time.
If a conflict seems to be escalating, it’s time to get involved. If the children are fighting over one item, help them to take turns. Try introducing additional items they might both like, which might reduce the urgency to play with the same toy.
Things To Look Out For
Still fighting? Think about other elements that might be affecting things. Are they hungry or thirsty? A snack and a drink could balance their blood sugar and calm things down. Or perhaps the playdate is too long. Depending on age, children may get over stimulated or bored after a period of time. Try a short timeframe, like 60-90 minutes, and extend from there if things go well.
If things still aren’t going well, consider changing things up a bit. Suggest an alternative, like a game, a building set, or a change of scenery. If the weather is agreeable, try the yard or the park. If all else fails, pop in a show or a movie as long as your guest’s parents aren’t opposed. Playdates can be a lot of fun for your child, but be prepared to put in a little work at first. Once you become pros, it can be a fun break for everyone!