Playdate Etiquette

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From the day your baby is born, it’s an ongoing search–you need mommy friends and he needs baby friends. TV characters and their moms just don’t cut it. So when you find that perfect family, the ones you just know you can be friends with, you have to handle the playdate well to guarantee you will get another.

The Other Baby

They are just learning the social norms that come so naturally to us. Observe your child with the other child and how they interact. Whether you meet at school, at the park or in the store, let your child "talk" or play with the other child even if just for a moment. Trust your motherly instincts.

The Other Mom

When you or your child decide you want to set up a playdate, choose a few times that fit your child’s schedule best. Ask the other child’s mom which time would work best for her family. If you would like help with the kids, make it evident that she is invited and that you will be serving coffee or snacks. Put together a little tray of food, to give you something to do and talk about in case you find the conversation sizzling. Just as you are excited about adult conversation, so is she. Ask about her interests and hobbies.

The Other Food

Allergies are a big problem everywhere. Ask the mom when making the date if there are any allergies her child has. Put those foods far out of reach and make sure they have not touched the ones you are serving. Clear your table and the play area of crumbs, just in case. Serve foods that are safe for all.

The Other Toys

Infants and toddlers are selfish people. Watching another child grab his favorite bunny can be as terrifying as watching another woman put your engagement ring or other prized possession in her mouth. Avoid the drama by bringing the kids to a neutral area, such as the backyard, and introducing a new toy or something abstract, like bubbles.

Other Guests

Don’t introduce a third wheel into the system, unless you are all well-established friends and have a history of get-togethers. Drama can quickly arise if kids, or adults, feel left out of a game or conversation. Don’t feel concerned that you are going to hurt another mother’s feelings. If a dejected friend asks why she wasn’t invited, you can always say that your child is just learning to share and needed some one-on-one practice. And then set up a playdate with her, if your child’s social calendar is free.

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