- Have lunch readily prepared before they arrive. This keeps you as free as possible with your guests to toddler-watch and have mum-chat. Also, it’s much easier for the guest mum to not have to worry about packing lunch along with the dozens of other necessities that need to be stuffed in the changing bag. Ideally checking with them first what is best to prepare. If they are super healthy or vegetarian it wouldn’t be appreciated if you serve up a meat-feast pizza. Toddler would think you’re a hero. The mum will probably ignore your subsequent playdate requests. I stick with sandwiches for the kiddies and quiches, sausage rolls and veggies for us. To be honest the kids join in with us. Once they hit toddlerhood I think we’re less precious about what they eat. PS don’t forget the pudding!
- Prepare yourself for when shit happens. You have a house full *not full but feels like it, of toddlers. Chances are something will get spilled, broken or damaged. In our house it’s not much different from a day without guests, toddler terrors don’t have concepts of these things so if you have anything you aren’t prepared to let anything happen to, then hide or cover it *carpet washer is a must-have just in general but perfect for playdates. I always give strawberries, never give strawberries, these will be ran around the house and smushed into your lovely cream carpets *covers eyes and pulls out the Vanish. You’ll then probably explain to your mum guest that ”it’s ok, the carpets need a clean anyway” while thinking ‘it’s not ok’ but it is ok because you like your guests. Just don’t serve strawberries. Problem solved.
- At some point throughout this date, shit. will. get. real. Toddlers are territorial and unpredictable little creatures and seeing someone else playing with their toys can lead to a whole ”No! Mine!” situation. Probably *definitely with some pushing, shoving and sometimes a cheeky head-butt. They mean no harm, just remember to keep an eye, mid-gossip of course. You will find yourself saying ‘‘share’‘ hundreds of times during the visit and this is how they learn. Don’t feel embarrassed either, if your child throws a wobbler or mass meltdown because the guest toddlers grapes look much more delicious than their own. They don’t care where they are or who’s around for a freak-out. You may do, but chances are you guests toddler is about to do exactly the same. You’ll laugh about it later.
- Keep a neutral kid friendly channel on in the background like the Disney channel, try to avoid Peppa Pig or there won’t be any toddler interaction because for some reason every toddler in the world is fixated with this bloody programme. Having TV on in the background is just another entertainment outlet. That, or put the radio on in the background (for your entertainment really).
- If you have a park nearby or a nice area to walk around then this could be a nice way to spend an hour of the time. I tend to skip this as the children play happily enough in the garden and in the house. Plus it’s hassle for guest mum to drag out their stroller while you drag out yours and coax all the children into these contraptions. Not to mention the bribes you may need to keep them happily sitting in their stroller or to get them off the swing as pain free as possible. I go for the safe bet, but it could be a welcomed outing for everyone.
- If you think your tornado toddler makes a mess, that’s nothing compared to the toddler bomb that is about to explode in your lounge. Toys will be everywhere and every toy will be out. You can use that as your best excuse for not tidying when Daddy arrives home ”What would be the point in hovering darling, when you can’t even see the shitting floor”. It’s bittersweet when a playdate comes to an end. You have a mountain of toys to clear away, you still have dinner to cook and your toddlers friend and entertainment has just left, so has your own friend and adult conversation *sighs. On the other hand you can finally tidy away without being followed by a toddler who’s mission is to untidy everything. Mission accomplished.
Having a playdate is a great way for toddlers to interact and learn one-on-one social skills. You get to have somewhat of a break. Well not really, you’re the host! But the adult company and toddler entertainment to occupy all children, will be a much needed relief. I don’t want to jinx it so I will whisper this one *you might get to have a hot drink*. Remember all above points, call up a mummy friend and book them in for a playdate!
This is the toddler on a playdate. He got travel sick on the way down and had to borrow her clothes. He just went with the whole ‘being a girl for a day’ idea.