With so many extra curricular activities going on with our kids these days, it gets more and more difficult for them to find time to spend with friends. And anyone who is familiar with child development will attest to the fact that playdates play an important role in the social and physical development of children. So how do you figure out when to schedule playdates so they don’t interfere with naps, meal, etc? In such a fast paced world it can be tricky, but it is possible. Here are some suggestions on scheduling playdates without interfering with naps and meal times.
Talking with other parents
One of the best ways to figure out when you should do a playdate and what times are the best is by getting to know parents of the friends. Instead of just calling up when your child says they want to play with someone, try calling the day or two before to schedule a time that works for them. You may have a very flexible schedule but they may not and scheduling ahead of time is not only proper playdate etiquette but it makes it easier to plan. They can let you know if babies are napping or if that’s when they eat lunch, etc. It’s also beneficial to you; if you know when a friend will be coming over to play you can schedule activities and block out some time to get the ball rolling when your child’s friend arrives. Communicating with other parents is crucial to being able to schedule playdates around meals and nap times.
Consider the age of each child
When you take into consideration the age of each child playing you will be able to better judge if they should be taking naps in the afternoon or not. Most toddlers between the ages of two and four will take naps in the middle of the afternoon; anywhere between the hours of 12pm and 4pm. This doesn’t mean however that they will sleep that long, it just might mean that this is a quiet time in the house and you or other parents don’t want playdates over during this time. If this is the case with you, then try and schedule your playdates in the morning so that you’re not interfering with nap time in the afternoon. Ten o’clock seems to be a good time for most toddlers as they have already eaten breakfast and they’re nice and awake for the next few hours. Be prepared however to provide a snack during the playdate.
If your child is between the ages of six and twelve, they probably don’t take naps in the afternoon and you might not have to consider interfering with naps. And sometimes if there are other small children sleeping it’s easier to have a friend over to keep the older ones occupied. If you’re worrying about interfering with meal times like lunch and dinner, then consider what times you eat lunch at and give it an extra hour. Most people eat lunch between 11am and 1pm. You’re fairly safe if you call before or after to schedule a time for their friend to come over and play. Same goes for dinner time; people usually eat between 5pm and 6pm so plan accordingly.
Planning playdates can be tricky because so many people have so much going on after school and on weekends. Your best bet at figuring out when to schedule playdates so they don’t’ interfere with naps, meals, etc. is by communicating with other parents to find out what their schedules are like.