Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Host your child’s playdates.

What you can do

Help your child navigate playdate dynamics by offering to host the initial get-togethers at your house. Structure the activities around your child’s interests. If possible, check with the other child’s parents ahead of time to find out what interests she has in common with your child.

During the playdate, give the kids choices between games and activities that your child is likely to stick with. Ideally the activities should be short and different from each other, such as playing dress-up and doing an art project. Have some backups in mind in case you need them.

Keep an eye on what goes well, and use these successes to help you plan the next playdate.

What you can say

“Sofia, your classmate Chloe is coming over for a playdate tomorrow. I know you’re excited. Your last playdate seemed to go really well when we picked just two activities to focus on, remember?”

“Tomorrow we can put out your dress-up trunk and the Barbie doll bin. I know you and Chloe love both of those things. Does that sound good to you? Great. What kind of snack do you think Chloe would like?”

Why this will help

Playdates are important to kids but require that they pay attention to the wants and needs of another child. This can be particularly difficult for children with attention issues who are easily distracted and often act impulsively. This behavior can be misinterpreted as not caring or being interested in the other child.

By structuring the first few playdates around your child’s strengths and interests, and by keeping the playdate brief so the activities don’t lose their appeal, you can help her have a successful interaction she can build on for future playdates.

Explore more tips on planning playdates.

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