Playdate Planning 101 {guest post}

Nicole Yontz is a stay at home mother in Arizona, a contributing parenting writer at and a personal blogger at

Is it your turn to plan a play date? Have you been avoiding it because the idea of voluntarily inviting other people’s little darlings over to play with your little darlings is enough to make you want to dye your hair and run away from home? Relax and step away from the peroxide because I am here to help you with a few helpful hints on how to take the fear and stress out of planning your first play date.

Just so you know, play dates aren't just a way to make a mess at someone else’s house for a change, they are also extremely educational. Play dates are fantastic ways to help kids, especially toddlers, spread their wings and develop much needed social skills. My daughter is an only child and as we get older I find it more and more important to participate in play dates to counteract the dreaded “only child syndrome”. There is only so much explaining how to share my husband and I can do, which means as much time as she can spend around other kids, the better.

When it comes to planning your play date, the first item on your checklist will be to pick a day and time for your soirĂ©e. Always consult with the parents of your young guests as to what time works for everyone involved. Some people like to have play dates in the morning to wear the kiddos out before naptime and some in the afternoon. There’s nothing worse than one overly tired child, can you imagine a room full of them? All the more reason why picking the perfect time of day is probably the most important part of play date planning.

Now we have a date and a time, next thing to consider is a menu. Remember, these are kids so it doesn't have to be fancy or very involved. Depending on how long the kids are going to be at your house, it doesn't even have to be considered a meal. Snacks such as chopped fruit, crackers, or cheese sticks will do just fine. However, be sure to check with parents to be sure your mini friends don’t have certain food allergies or needs.

Event day has finally arrived and now it’s time to clean the place up and do a safety check. Of course, your home is safe for your own child, but if you’re like me over the years it’s become less so for the tiny ones. If you know you’re going to have a crawler in your midst take a second to crawl around yourself and make sure there is nothing harmful in their way. Do a quick inventory of your playroom making sure to remove small toys that can pose as choking hazards. I will also often times lock certain doors in our home to keep curious visitors at bay like my office, master bedroom, and guest rooms.

Play dates can be as casual or as involved as you want to make them. I have personally been to some where the hosts had crafts and events planned for my child. However, at my house, upon walking in the door, I direct the child to the playroom and the parent to the kitchen and call it a day. Over stressing and over planning will often times take the fun out of the whole process and fun is exactly what it’s supposed to be. Now get out there and play!

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