This is an awesome guest post from my friend Courtney (mom of 3) about a few little-known playdate rules!
My kids love playdates. They get so excited about having friends come over to our house to play. While I like the idea of my children improving their social skills in a more informal setting than school, playdates can be high maintenance affairs. Most parents are aware of the basic issues when hosting a playdate, like cleaning, addressing food allergies, expecting your playroom to look like a tornado came through, etc., but I’ve discovered that there are some additional not-so-obvious playdate pitfalls that I wish someone told me about.
By the time kids are ready to play at someone else’s house without a parent staying, they are usually potty proficient and independent, meaning they do not need an adult hovering when they go to the bathroom. That is, unless you are a child coming to play at our house. I’ve had boys come over and get pee everywhere in the bathroom, other than in the actual toilet. One child came waddling out of the bathroom in the Downward Dog yoga position telling me that I needed to wipe his butt since he just pooped. He was five. I propose adding “Wipe Butt Independently” as an evaluated skill in Pre-K.
If your child is afraid of something, please tell the parent hosting the playdate. For example, my middle child used to be petrified of cats and would start screaming bloody murder if he spotted a feline 100 yards away. I made sure I told other parents about this so they knew what was happening when he started shrieking at their house. We had a child come over to play at our house that went into hysterics when I brought out the vacuum while the kids were in the basement and I was up in the family room. I actually had to call his mom to double check that he was afraid of vacuums. Those crushed pretzels in the carpet would just have to stay put until he left.
3. Lock Up Permanent Markers
Putting Sharpies out of reach on a seven foot high cabinet is not sufficient. There is some kind of beacon kids hone in on when permanent markers are concerned. I picture it looking like the scene in Tom and Jerry, when Jerry catches a whiff of cheese and starts floating along, following the scent. Helpful note to everyone: Rubbing alcohol gets Sharpie marker out of the carpet. Trust me, my light gray carpet has been tested.
4. Sense of Humor
When non-life threatening issues arise on a playdate, I’ve found that it’s best to have a sense of humor about it. Last week, my oldest had a friend over, and while they were playing MarioKart on Wii, I went upstairs to pack for vacation. While I was upstairs in the bathroom, I heard little footsteps coming into the bathroom, and as I peaked around the half-wall, I saw my son’s friend. He giggled and asked for more snacks. I told him that I would take care of that when I was done in the bathroom, and he then proceeded to climb up onto the tub to look out the window. After I told him again that I’d get more snacks after he went back downstairs, he looked right at me and asked me if I had princess underwear. After he went back downstairs, I texted his mom to let her know, and thankfully, she found it as funny as I did.
How about you? Any playdate tips for parents or other random things you wish someone would have prepared you for prior to hosting a playdate?