Playdates can be tricky for kids. This is especially true for kids who struggle socially. Learn what problems to anticipate during playdates, and how to handle them.
Your child clams up as soon as a friend arrives.
Solution: Plan an activity, like a craft or a puzzle, that doesn’t require a lot of talking. This helps take the pressure off. Your child doesn’t have to come up with things to say. Instead, the kids can jump into the activity, and chit-chat might happen naturally from there.
Your child doesn’t want to share.
Solution: Have your child put away favorite toys or games before the friend arrives. Or go to a playground where sharing won’t be as big a problem.
If more than one friend comes over, your child gets left out.
Solution: Try to limit playdates to one friend at a time. This way, your child has a better chance of connecting with the friend. And let your child have as much input as you can—who to invite, where to go, what to do. Remind your child that making friends takes time and practice.
Half an hour into it, your child is done.
Solution: Invite the other child’s parent. It’s OK to end the playdate early, if you have to. Thirty minutes of fun is better than 90 minutes of unhappiness.
Looking for more ideas? Get tips on helping your child with social cues.