This one is a tough topic for me…. because honestly, with six kids all close in age (4-10), I feel like my house is one big living playdate! The kids really do enjoy each other's company- and they will grab a soccer ball and play against each other for hours outside… or the bigger kids will engage the younger ones in creating imaginary “clubs” in their rooms, and set up elaborate clubhouses and invite all of their stuffed animals to join in…. they are really great about playing together.
But this year I realized that I need to do a better job of helping my children form and maintain close relationships with some of their friends. I especially feel that this is important for my younger daughters- to help them navigate the social structures that girls set up even in elementary school.
But I have to admit that it can be hard… when one child has a friend over after school for a playdate- it is a challenge to keep the older sibs away from them and involved in something else. I've had play dates go terribly wrong for my kids when their older sibs jump in and kind of “take over” the playdate, and the friend's attention. I have also tried scheduling multiple playdates at the same time- so each child has their own friend to play with. But then it is hard for me to keep an eye on all of the different groupings and interactions, and help guide my kids along to being good hosts to their invited guests.
I am still going to keep trying….. but would love to hear your tips and success stories for making playdates work. Please leave a comment….