Monday, April 21, 2008

Playdate Calamities

Betsy called me today telling about an experience with her daughter she hadn't encountered before. She had a friend come by this morning with her kids, and during the time, Betsy's daughter became a terror (well, I don't know, I wasn't there). She didn't want to share, had a problem with them playing with her toys, and that sort of things. We have experienced this many times and have come up with some good solutions that I thought I would share:
  1. Preparation: Prepare your child for a coming visit. Explain that little Johnny is coming to play and we are going to share our toys with him-he is our guest.
  2. Remove: Put up any special toys that your child covets, or might could get broken. It will save a temper-tantrum later when Johnny reaches for it. Everything else is fair game-they are just toys after all and can be replaced, repaired, and meant to be played with.
  3. Learn to share: The younger they are, the harder it is, but NECESSARY! With older ones, let the guest get it first for a few minutes, then make them trade. Guests can learn to share too :-). And don't allow grabbing and snatching away. If needed, put a toy up if both kids are fighting over it too much. I promise they will move on.
  4. Hospitality: Never too early to teach your children hospitality. These are our guests, we treat them with respect, and they go first. If not, then they won't be able to have friends over again. Hopefully your child will be treated with the same regard when they are the guest.
  5. Discipline: Don't be afraid to discipline while your guests are there. As embarrassing as it is, you still don't need to overlook offensive behavior. And make your child apologize for their behavior (if old enough.) Otherwise, how will they learn for the next time.

There are many other things too, like my child is always afraid his friends are going to take his toys home, and I have to explain (preparation) that they are just coming to play with them at our house. Or one time he tried to give away a car that our younger son played with. I stepped in an explained to our guest that it was for our other son, I'm sorry he couldn't have it. My son's friend had no problem with that, and I was the current authority. I could go on. Just remember this is a learning experience and an important part of their social development.

1 comment:

Bridgette Boudreaux said...

Thank you for number 5! So often I just want to look at my friends and say, "It's okay to discipline them the way you would if I wasn't here. I won't think you're a bad mom!"