“Sure! I’ll host next week!”
Good for you! You’ve stepped up to the plate and are taking on your fair share of the burden of hosting playdate. Now what?
1. Clean your house
I know this seems completely redundant. It is. But when is it not, really? Plus, it’s nice to have a template for your guests to refer to when following the #1 rule of playdates. Also, make sure that you’ve got a space for the kids to play and have out the toys with which you’re okay with them playing (anything that is considered valuable or irreplaceable might be best put away- same goes for video games that other parents might not approve of if there is going to be a mixed set of ages).
2. Stock up on snacks
I don’t know what it is about being at another kid’s house that makes your own child ravenous, but it just does. Maybe it’s because they’re engaging so thoroughly in play that they’ve worked up an appetite, maybe it’s just the curiosity of what new/different/better foods you might have than what they’re used to at home. I don’t know. But the kids will get hungry, and the adults don’t usually mind being fed either. This doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, at all. Stuff to munch on, options for drinks for the kids and the adults. That’s all. No need to prepare deviled eggs or a buffet or anything. Chips, chocolate, juice boxes, goldfish crackers, whatev. If you’re all having lunch, bring something to share- mac’n’cheese, hot dogs, frozen chicken nuggets (or the 20 case from McDonalds’- I’m not judging!).
3. Put away/close off anything super valuable (or dangerous)
Your kid may know the rules about not touching dad’s autographed baseball up on the mantel, but the other kids won’t. Rather than have to badger kids over it, just put it away. If you don’t want kids in your bedroom, shut (maybe lock) the door before they get there. Store safely away any prescriptions/medicines, and if you happen to have weapons in the house, make sure they’re securely locked up and out of sight. Again, your kid may know the rules, but that doesn’t mean other kids will.
4. Make sure you set a time span
There’s nothing more awkward than the person who lingers long after they ought to. The best way to prevent this and to preserve your sanity is to set a time span for the playdate. So, from 10am-noon or from noon to three, whatever works for you. I’ve found that usually 3 hours is a good span of time, less if you’re not hosting lunch, more if you really like the company you’ve invited.
5. Play the hostess/host
It’s polite to send a reminder the day before, and hopefully it’ll give you some sort of a response as to who all to expect the next day. If they need to know something specific like your address (if they’ve never been there before) or where to park, make sure to let them know that in a text so they can refer back to it. If you’re meeting to do an activity, like a hike or an outdoor concert, maybe remind them to bring their baby carriers/strollers or a picnic blanket.
The day of, play the hostess/host by offering drinks, showing them around, and inviting them to sit. Once your group is comfortable with each other, it becomes less necessary to do any of the formal stuff, but when your playgroup is just starting, it’s nice to have the formalities to cling to during the awkward stage of a new friendship.
Congratulations, you’ve hosted playdate!
Have fun cleaning up!
Let’s hope your guests knew the rules of playdate and didn’t leave things too amiss, and now you’ll be prepared to host again in a few weeks when your turn comes around again!