Motherhood, Parenting

That First “Real” Playdate

I don’t know how we got here. Time’s flown by so quickly, in the blink of an eye and now we are here… it’s time, my baby is going on his first ever “real” playdate. By “real” I mean sans mama. It’s a drop and go without me and I am absolutely petrified! I found myself in this situation a few months ago and after chatting to a few other mama’s I know I’m not alone in this ocean of emotions.

So lets talk about that first playdate. My eldest came home from school the other day (he is 5) and said “Mom, my friend needs your phone’s password!” “Password ? Why does he need my password?” I enquired, “So his mum can phone you to arrange a playdate!”, now it makes sense 🙂 He needs my phone number! Wow, I didn’t see that one coming, and I certainly didn’t think I would get emotional about it, but I had a mini break down! This isn’t just the boys going around to play at my bestie’s house (that’s different, I know them like the back of my hand), this is a real school friend. A friendship formed between the two of them, without parents around.

My own childhood was spent happily playing at my friends houses, and they would play at mine too. Having a mum that ran her own business meant I would often go home with friends after school and we would spend our afternoons swimming, riding bikes, eating “fruits of the forest” yoghurts and making forts up in trees. I LOVED it, and I can’t wait for my kids to start experiencing all those memories. However, I’m also nervous, happy, proud and a teeny tiny bit sad that my baby is officially growing up.

What to do you take? Will they go swimming? What will they eat? Do I pack snacks? Do I know have to return the offer and schedule one in return? What happens if they get hurt?

It’s a little like their first day at big school! Sooo many questions to consider, soooo many thoughts running through my mind. Thankfully, his friends mother was more seasoned at this then I was, having older daughters. I think she sensed my anxiety, and messaged me to say I didn’t need to stay and put my mind at ease. She also sent me photo’s throughout the afternoon so I could see my baby was having a great time.

We also has another factor to consider, in the food we eat. Aadam is good and he knows when he is not at home he is not allowed to eat meat if mummy and daddy are not around (we are strictly halaal), so we have already said to him no biltong snacks, no hot dogs etc and he is very good about making sure of that.

Its also brought about a new dynamic between him and his brother. This signifies a new chapter. They are going off down their own independent paths. The terrible twosome is going to be divided, they are going to start having their own friends and own “plans”, I just pray they always stay as close as they are and they don’t leave one another out.

I’m happy to report that the playdate went really well. It helped that I know his buddy is the sweetest little boy ever. They have struck up the cutest friendship and I know his family shares a lot of the same values, so from that side of things, I wasn’t nervous at all.

This was a huge milestone for me and one I struggled with immensely. A few things helped me get through:

  • Be completely honest with the other parent. Find out what is expected, where will they be playing (indoors/outdoors) and which parent will be around to supervise. Don’t forget to ask or mention any allergies as well.
  • I packed Aadam a bag the first time, with his bottle of water and some snacks (just in case he was too shy to ask for anything). He totally didn’t need it but it made mama feel better.
  • We baked a little cookie treat to take with to say “thank you”.
  • I thought it best for the first playdate to leave his younger brother out of the picture, he would be more likely to ask for me, or to get tired quickly. This was Aadam’s day, but I made sure to do something special with his younger brother, so he didn’t feel left out.
  • Set a time and stick to it. I feel 2-3 hours are adequate for a play date. For the first I set it at 2 hours, which I felt was enough time for us both to feel comfortable. You definitely don’t want to overstay your welcome and I certainly didn’t want my baby wondering where mummy was (turns out he didn’t want me to get there so soon and would have quite happily played for much longer).
  • If you are hosting – send the other mum pics of them playing or having a good time. Trust me, it makes such a big difference to the other mum.

Child’s play is completely unpredictable so don’t have too many expectations, go with the flow and the kids will have a great time! Did you worry about your child’s first play date? Do you have any other tips to share with parents?

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