A play date may be a lot of work for the parent hosting, especially if the children playing together are very young. But, play dates have a lot of value for both children developmentally. These meetings generally last an hour or so, and it teaches kids of all ages about different levels of respect. Mainly done for social reasons, playdates help parents observe their children in a different light, and this can provide guidance in regard to how a child can improve upon their actions (and sometimes, reactions). Read on to learn about five important reasons to host a play date, so your little one can join in on the fun, right away!
1.) It Helps to Develop Speech
Children’s speech develops at different times and rates. When two children play together, they pick up new vocabulary, they learn how to pace a conversation, they understand they need to listen then speak, and they are exposed to different intonations. All of these are useful in the development of speech and language. Often times, older children participate in dramatic play, which is beneficial to speech and language because they are forced to imagine, act, and even sing; which uses rhyme, and longer phrases.
2.) It Teaches Sharing
One of the hardest things for toddlers to do is share-especially share their own toys in their own environment since they feel they have total ownership of it. But, when a playmate arrives, everything is fair game. It teaches kids of all ages that if they want to make a friend (and keep one), they need to share their stuff, or no one will want to play with them. Be patient at first, and also vigilant. If two children begin to argue about a toy, have a timer handy so you can designate a timed turn for each kiddo.
3.) Playdates Get Kids Moving
Childhood obesity rates are through the roof. A playdate gets kids of all ages and stages up and moving. Instead of hosting a playdate in your home, take your child and their guests to a more active setting, like the park, a trampoline park, a bouncy house facility, or even an indoor play area. Kids still benefit from all the social aspects a playdate has to offer, but they also get lots of physical exercise and burn off a ton of energy. Dedicate a portion of your playtime outdoors and have fun items on hand, like bubbles, balls, and even hula hoops for older children.
4.) It Promotes Problem Solving
Playdates help teach problem solving skills. Whether they realize it or not, when children play together, they are cooperating, communicating, and using their critical thinking skills. Yes, children can have fun playing alone, and remain entertained; but they truly need the give and take that occurs during partner play. They also develop different ways of thinking, based on what they observe from their peers. It is these skills they apply when a problem arises. Consider setting up a creative problem solving box which encourages kids to work together to build new things, or create a solution to a problem you present them with.
5.) Playdates Require Manners
Playdates teach young toddlers all about manners. It’s a great opportunity for them to get in their please and thank you’s. It also teaches them to respect others, others’ belongings, everyone’s personal space, and it helps them learn about appropriate actions and conversations.
Playdates can initially a lot of work to implement, and even to monitor; especially between toddlers. But, the sooner you have playdates, the sooner your little one will benefit from everything these social gatherings have to offer. Plus- play dates are a fantastic way to get to know other Moms!