We schedule play dates for our toddlers so they can learn to make friends and build the social skills that they'll need for preschool. Play dates are also a time for parents to get to know each other, but if you're shy or bit introverted, these activities can sometimes feel uncomfortable. In an article on the parenting website What to Expect, self-professed "introverted mom" Sarah Moriarty provided the following tips for parents to make the play date experience more enjoyable for everyone involved:
- Keep the play date in a familiar space – According to Moriarty, a play date in a large area like a playground can be stress inducing. Parents often spend the time chasing children around the area trying to convince them to do something together. In a more contained environment, like your house, you and the other parent can relax.
- Provide enough to keep the kids occupied – Before your guest comes over, stage snacks, toys and games in the play area. "Having toys and snacks out will give the kids more independence from you, meaning fewer interruptions," Moriarty wrote. "Why, you may ask, would I want more uninterrupted time? Because constant interruptions mean you will never get the conversation rolling with the parent."
- Remember what you have in common – When we get to know another parent, we often focus too much on our differences rather than our similarities. You both have a small child and probably have similar stories about your experiences. You may be surprised by how quickly you hit it off with another parent.
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