Play Date Etiquette

Updated on August 22, 2012
K.C. asks from Mc Lean, VA
11 answers

We're having our first play date tomorrow. It's here at our house. Both kids are about 20 months old. What etiquette do I need to be aware of? They're coming at 10 am and I'm thinking they'll be here for an hour or so ... Maybe longer.

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So What Happened?

Thanks ladies! Dana ... I agree with you, but I'm a 40+ SAHM for the first time and the child is our foster-adopt son, so I have some different "rules" right now and not a lot of time between social workers, guardians, court appointed advocates, OT and play therapy, and birthparent visits (which just ended) to meet other moms in playgroup, out-and-about situations. So, it's organized play dates for now. Good part is the mom is my former boss's daughter and we've done stuff with them before, so it's not a completely uncomfortable situation. Appreciate all the suggestions! We're ready to have some fun!!

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answers from Sioux City on

I have never understood this concept of play dates. I have friends, they have kids, and sometimes we hang out. My friends have similar discipline and behavior expectations. I respect them and they respect me. If that what a play date is then I guess we have them. It isn't complicated.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

When I host a playdate, I try to have some snacks ready to go in case they are needed. I usually have some fruit cut-up or cheese sticks. But I also usually have some standard toddler snacks like goldfish crackers available. The fruit is nice because it works for a snack for the adults as well.

I ask the parent if the food I'm offering is okay for their child. If you continue to have playdates with the same child/parent, things will likely get more casual over time.

As a parent of a child with food allergies, I always appreciate if someone makes an effort to check on what is safe. But also as a parent of a child with food allergies, I'm likely to always bring snacks with me that I know to be safe.

One suggestion is to consider putting/hiding away your child's favorite toy(s). Playdates can sometimes be difficult for the hosting child as suddenly another child is playing with his/her toys and getting the hang of sharing can take time. So if your child has a toy that might be difficult for him/her to share, then I'd consider putting it out of sight during the playdate.

My kids are 3.5, so now we ask them if there are any toys they don't want their friends to play with, then they should put them in their room (or in a room where the kids will not be playing). We just have to make sure they don't try to put all their toys in the other room. :-)

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answers from Chicago on

My only suggestion is keep the kids out of your child's bedroom, and put away special toys.

With other kids, they don't always treat your child's special toys as nice as your child would so it's best to just put them away so they don't get broken. When my daughter was younger she had LOTS of tears when friends accidentally broke or ruined one of her special toys. We learned fast to place them out of sight.

It might be a good idea to select toys that are okay to play with and place them in a laundry basket. Then put the toys in the room the kids will be playing in.

Have fun!

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answers from Columbus on

Honestly......its a play date, with two 20 month old. I dont think you need to worry about any "etiquette". Relax, have toys out, baby proof. That's it.

At the most I would have some coffee and maybe something to snack on with the mom.

I know you have the best intentions, but just relax. Its just a play date, not a wedding recital.

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answers from Chicago on

there is really no etiquette for that age lol. you plop them down with some toys. at that age its really all about making them aware there are other kids in the world. the playdate aspect is for mama to have some adult conversation as babies at that age play along side each other but not really with each other.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Have snacks as already mentioned, but be sure to find out if there are allergies or special requirements. Kids with peanut allergies can not even be around places where peanut butter sandwiches have been prepared for instance. So you may have to super clean or keep kids out of the kitchen or whatever, as an example.

Spare diapers or a place and supplies for changes and disposal should be accessible and handy. Some people don't feel comfortable using another person's changing area, or leaving "care packages" in their garbage can or diaper genie, so have some clean supplies or a space set aside in case she has reservations. Just offer but don't insist. She may come prepared and have no qualms about changing out in the open.

Find out what type of games the guest likes and have them handy and ready to roll. Have a variety of activities ready in fact, so if they get bored, you can keep the good times rolling.

Find out if naps are needed and what time and plan to wrap things up accordingly.

If mom is staying have snacks and a comfy place set up where you can chat AND keep an eye on the kids.

If you have a good time and want to encourage the relationship after the playdate, follow up with an e-mail confirming that your child and you enjoyed the visit and that you hope to visit with them again in the near future. No need to thank them for coming...just give them confirmation that it was an enjoyable visit so they know they're welcome to reciprocate the playdate.

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answers from San Francisco on

At that age, the kids don't play with each other, so much as they play side-by-side anyway, so your only job is to keep them from killing each other and/or setting the house on fire. Assuming the other mom will be staying there the whole time, have some healthy snacks ready to offer (fruit or goldfish crackers or whatever), although for just an hour, probably the kids won't want to eat anyway. Don't helicopter-mom, just let the kids do their thing unless bloodshed is imminent.

Now that I think back, my only rule of play dates at that age was that I didn't care which kids my kids liked, I only invited the kids whose moms I liked. (And once they get to be my kids' ages - 7 and 10 - it becomes a 3-martini play date for the moms! LOL)

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answers from New York on

In my day, we let kids play. Period!!!!! Put on a pot of coffee so you and the other mother could enjoy yourself too. A few donuts would be nice. Just let the kids be kids. Do not interfere with them unless they are hurting one another.

I agree with Dana K.

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answers from Washington DC on

Dana K! Are you in a bad mood? Funny, the last question you asked, a year ago, was about why people would respond just to make a jab. If you don't have any advice for her then just move on to the next question!

Sorry. I had to get that out. As far as the playdate goes, just enjoy the company! Personally, I always had my kids and their little friends help clean up at the end. They're perfectly capable of tossing toys back into baskets. We always sang a clean-up song to announce it was time. Do whatever works for you though. Have fun :)

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answers from Los Angeles on

Hi there,
No sick kids.
At that age, parents DO need to supervise.
Maybe have simple, light snack.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Offer a drink & snack (ask mom first). Depending on the kids' personalities and your house layout, you may want to set up a play area where both (all) parents can sit and observe. Talk it up to your kid first, so he/she know what to expect ("Remember so-and-so is coming over tomorrow!" "It's going to be so much fun to share your toys with him/her!" etc). Relax and have fun!

1 mom found this helpful
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