Posts Tagged ‘playdates’

Do We Need Playdates?

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

DO WE NEED PLAYDATESPlaydates. A chance to get out of the house and talk to adults for some parents, and perhaps an awkward or uncomfortable experience for others. If you’re in the first group, it can be pretty easy to find get-togethers for your toddler., local mom clubs (including fitness clubs like Moms RUN This Town or Stroller Warriors) or even the old fashioned way, chatting up people at the park, are some of the different ways to socialize your toddler (and you).

Depending on where you live though, if you are a working parent or a stay-at-home dad the playdate scene might be a little hard to break into. My friend was a stay-at-home dad and said women consistently assumed he was looking for dates, not playdates, and our local mom club wouldn’t accept dads or moms that worked more than part-time. He was persistent–I think he really wanted adults to talk to, and ended up finding some good matches for his family.

If you find yourself in the latter group though where you don’t particularly like attending playgroups, perhaps because you are an introvert or are very busy, it can be worrisome to think your toddler is missing out somehow because he’s not cruising the local playdate scene. Do toddlers need socialization via playdate or other organized activity?

Between the ages of one and two to three, children engage in parallel play, where they aren’t interacting directly with their peers (other than to steal toys or knock each other over). You may have seen your own toddler sit side-by-side with another child and not really see them interact like you would see with older children.

At this age, I think playgroups are perhaps more socially beneficial to the parent than the child. However, while the children may not be actively engaged with each other, they are still watching each other and starting to learn through observation about social behavior.

If you want your toddler to get have some play time with other kids, but aren’t or can’t do playdates, you can work around it. If you hire a babysitter, consider hiring one with a child near your toddler’s age that will come along. If you have a gym membership, the gym’s childcare facility may be a place for toddler socialization as well. MOPS or Mothers Day Out are also potential options. As your toddler gets older and more interested in playing with others, you might consider enrolling her in preschool as well.

Meaghan Howard is a mother to two young boys whose sanity was saved once upon a time by her local MOPS chapter.

Summer Play Dates for Baby

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

IMG_0202There’s something about summer. The sunshine, warm air, and beauty of nature seem to make everything better. For me, motherhood becomes even more enjoyable. I love to be outside. Sunshine just makes me happy, and it seems to have the same effect on my little ones. Here are some great ideas for summer play dates for you and baby.

Imaginative Play at Home

Invite a friend and her little ones over and enjoy imaginative play. Take an outdoor blanket and sit outside with your babies and have a play picnic. Bring out the play food and have a tea party. Cozy coupe cars are fun for older babies, too. Pretend your little one is going to the store or ice cream shop and integrate more toys. If you are still playing with a younger baby, break out some balls and let them experience different sizes and textures. Bubbles are also a fun thing to play with in the summer. My 8-month-old son loves bubbles already, and they are inexpensive at any local store.

Water Fun

Depending on where you live, there are several different ways you can have fun in the water with your little one. In my area, splash pads are at most parks. These fun water attractions are an easy way to beat the heat. Even before my daughter could walk, sitting on the sidewalk by the sprinklers was a hit for us.

Local pools are also a great way to enjoy the water with babies. Mommy-and-me swim lessons are offered at most community pools and YMCA centers. The bonus is you can learn about water safety and get your baby used to being in the water. Plus, you get to enjoy the time together.

Water tables are a fun toy to play with at home, as well, as baby gets older and can walk. Older siblings would enjoy the hours of entertainment a water table can bring. You can always be simple and just invest in a small sprinkler or baby pool that you can enjoy at home. Then, you have a go-to for fun play dates at home all summer long.

Fun Around Town

Get together with other moms and decide on a local place to meet up. Here in my area, we have a children’s zoo. Bring the stroller or wagon or babywear in your favorite carrier. (I would be using my Tula!) Zoos usually have season memberships where you can stay as long or little as you want and then head home for the day. No worries about tantrums or cranky babies that way.

Many cities have aquatic centers or intriguing parks for little ones. Babies are not too small to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature and outdoor activities.

One of my favorite things to do on summer play dates with my baby is just meet up with a few friends at a local coffee shop, grab a drink, and head out on a stroller walk. We walk to a playground where the baby swings are or simply just walk around town. Babies love the interaction and fresh air. The bonus is the fresh air usually wears them out, so you can expect a good nap later!

Whatever you do this summer, get outside! Make new friends and invite the ones you have on fun play dates. Don’t stress about making them fancy, just enjoy your baby and the beautiful weather.

Karyn Meyerhoff lives, writes, and goes on play dates in Northeast Indiana. She can’t wait to break in her new double jogging stroller this summer.