How to Have a Tantrum-Free Playdate Exit
So, you set up a nice afternoon for your child to play with a little friend from her preschool....they are due to come over at 10:30...which means they will be leaving when? Yes, the eternal question as to how long a playdate should last.
When kids are small, often the end to a playdate is determined by that, when naptime is...or when a younger sibling's naptime is or the like. But when they get older, that built-in timer isn't an issue. From everything I've read and other moms I have asked, they all say about two hours is a good length for good buddies to play.
One thing about ending a playdate is the whole saying good-bye thing. Getting kids to stop the fun and don their shoes to head home can make the end of a good playdate go south to Tearsville really fast. Here are some hints to make the final minutes of a playdate as fun as the rest:
-- Tell both kids at the beginning of the playdate how long it will last. They may not get the concept of time yet, but letting them know at some point Dylan is going to have to head home for dinnertime is essential.
-- Give a countdown to clean-up time and good-bye time. When it is about 15 minutes before the guest has to leave, tell the kids they can play for another 10 minutes and then it will be clean-up time.
-- Make clean-up fun. Create a game to get all of the dinosaurs back in the bucket or throw on some tunes and make it a dance-clean-up party.
-- Be sure you have proper goodbyes and talk about the next playdate you will have. Give hugs, high-fives, and thank yous all around before the guests go out the door. If the kids know they will get together again soon, it makes leaving go a little easier.
How long do your playdates usually last? Give your hints on a graceful playdate exit!