Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Power of the Play Date

Play dates.

I will admit, we love play dates.

For Asher, or the preschool aged kid, play dates are a way for Asher to make friends, learn how to relate and get along with others, all while in the presence of me, Mommy. I try to keep him active with those who may be in his Kindergarten class, around boys and girls his age with same morals, values, behaviors (are well behaved for the most part). Asher loves them. He is the only one left at home with me so play dates give him some much needed toddler interaction. Asher will occasionally have friends over without their mommy, but I only do this in short spurts as a way to help the mommy get a break while the boys play. It becomes more difficult when each kiddo has a play date and our home turns into a daycare center with 6 kids running around. I try to avoid theses situations unless I know I will have Chris' help, which is rare and unreliable. It is inevitable that while making chocolate chip cookies with 4 kiddos, Alivia and her friend will want me to paint their nails. Asher already has friends who I have found not ready to come over for longer than an hour. Funny, not every little boy is like Asher (who knew?!).

I will admit, I like play dates, too. After sometimes hours (and even days) of non adult interaction, it is nice to catch up with an adult and swap ideas. is a win win. I found out about many things during a play date with what have become my and Asher's friends.

Addison used to have play dates with a little friend before she started kindergarten. On that first scary day of school, the 2 girls found comfort in knowing one another. Looking around and seeing a familiar face helped Addison adjust to kindergarten perhaps faster than she would have otherwise.

Alivia and Addi still have after school, weekend and summer play dates. Now that they are older, the friends usually come alone. But, I still like to meet my friend Stacy or other Mommy friends at the park with their  kids. We chat while attending to the kids and their sand castles. We do not let them run unattended or completely ignore them, but we do let them run. They are kids.

I find that play dates for Addi and Alivia help them to form closer friendships. And, they like them. At this point, I leave the play date activities up to them for the most part.

Perhaps if the kids were in childcare I would not see the importance of such things as play dates. Chris and I grew up on the shyer side, so it is even more important to strive for academic and social success for our kids.

After all, everyone needs a friend, right?
Asher and his friend (who is now in Kindergarten!) Elijah, at the park last week, on a play date after school.

The girls with one of Alivia's friends Sydney (whose mom, Stacy,  is MY friend now!).

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