Friday, March 25, 2011

Playdates For Your Little One - Important, Important, And, Important

You must have heard countless parents, especially mums, swear by it. Playdate - that one term that immediately brings to mind a picture of a roomful of kids, toys, colours, things thrown on the floor, constant shouting and singing and screaming, a little fighting too, and of course lots of fun for the little ones.....

While experts have always been stressing about the importance of having a playdate incorporated in your child's routine, the trend is now catching up in India pretty nicely. Not long ago, kids would gather at the park, meet and play with their friends and head back home. On vacations, or on certain special days, a few friends would gather at one child's house and they would play for an hour or so. Then each to his/her home. But such interaction was very few and far between.

A playdate is something that has suddenly come into a routine where I reside. I am one of those lucky few who can claim having the best neighbours in the world - more than neighbours they are friends, more like family now (see pic). And I am really really lucky.

A playdate is good for your little one because:

1. It gives your child the independence that comes from spending time away from 'mamma'.
2. It builds a sense of sharing and caring towards others.
3. It builds a sense of responsibility in your little one, especially if it is a contribution play-date, where each child carries some toy or other from their own home.
4. It helps your child develop social skills.
5. Interacting with same-age children is good for your little one's overall development.
6. Building vocabulary.
7. Visiting each other's house for playing means your little one gets access to more toys than they have at home, the novelty of playing with a new toy is always present.
8. It helps your child understand the importance of good behaviour.
9. At someone else's house, in the absence of parents, a child learns to listen to adults, other than those in the immediate family.
10.Playdates help your little ones to form strong bonds of friendship, a lasting relationship that will grow as the years pass.

A playdate is good for you because:1. It gives you that much-deserved and much-needed break, a time for yourself, even though it may only be for half an hour a week.
2. Letting your child play with others in your absence will enable you to understand your little one's behaviour with those outside the family, and you will get a better understanding of how they are in front of others.
3. Your child will have access to newer toys.
4. If you are clubbing the playdate with a mums-evening, it will give you a chance to do spend some quality time with your girl-friends.

What to keep in mind for a playdate:1. Remember, you have to BE ABSOLUTELY SURE about the house where you are sending your child. Unless and until you know the people immensely well, never let your little one go alone on a playdate.
2. Make sure the lady of the house is present when you send your child for a playdate.
3. Keep in mind the fact that kids pick up language and words real fast. So remember to avoid any kid in the playdate who is known to have a bad/filthy language.
4. Be sure that you can handle too many kids on your own. Each child's responsibility lies with you while they are in your home. So be extra careful and on your toes.
5. Make sure you can trust the host completely when you send your child to someone's house. Only if you are completely sure that the person can take of your child should you send your little one there.
6. Remember to stock up your kitchen before the little ones arrive. No junk food, no fridge/chilled food/drinks, and remember to check about serving non-veg food, so as not to hurt any sentiments.

Keep these basics in mind and you are all set to have a blast of a date.....

And like I always believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!!

- Debolina Raja Gupta
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