Just this week, a friend of mine mentioned a play date she had organised for her child and her friend’s child and it lasted seven hours.
The lady arrived at 10am and didn’t leave until 5pm. It’s like a whole days work and probably three days when you think she must have had to clean up before she came and, after seven hours of play, it may well have taken her a week to clear up. Not to mention meals, refreshments and naps for the children.
It got me thinking about the unwritten rules of playdates at home. With Boo being five, we have had our fair share so here are my top five tips on play dates. What to do and what not to do to ensure you get invited back.
1.Adhere to a strict time limit. I like to think of it like a morning and afternoon session. Mornings begin at 10am and would end at 12 noon for lunch. Afternoon sessions are probably 2-5pm so an hour longer. No one wants to outstay their welcome, do they?
2.Always take something. I am guilty of forgetting sometimes but as a host, it is always nice when guests turn up with some fairy cakes or cookies.
3.Help tidy up before you leave or, at least offer to help. One time, my lounge looked like it had been burgled by toy thieves. I didn’t mind. The children had played lovely. The other mums offered to help tidy up but I declined but I was so happy they asked.
4. Try and keep the children in one area. Some children play in their bedrooms, others have a dedicated play rooms or in the living room. Thankfully we have a baby gate on the stairs to the bedrooms. It would be my worst nightmare for more than one area to be messed up. Policing play dates is hard. Invest in child proof baby gates.
5.If you get invited to someone’s house, it is only manners to invite them back to yours at a later date. Living on a farm means our house is probably much more exciting to children but there have been a number of times when I have felt totally used and that some people have had a free day out at our petting farm without ever dreaming of inviting us to their house. That just isn’t good manners.
Have you ever been burnt by a play date? What would your rules be?