Summer Playdate Essentials

Do you ever wonder what your children are like when they go over to a friend’s house for a playdate? Do they remember to take off their shoes? Do they say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’? Do they follow the rules?

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We have all had that nightmare playdate over. The kid who runs around your house with dirty shoes, rummages through your pantry, leaves toys and food all over the house, etc. How do we prevent our kids from becoming that nightmare playdate? We begin by teaching them the rules of being a great host and guest. And then we practice, practice and practice! Fingers crossed, they remember to follow these rules on the next playdate.

Good social skills make playdates fun for everyone. The most important rule to teach your kids is to always make everyone feel welcome and comfortable!

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Ready to be a good host-

Prepare your kids by going over these simple and easy host and guest tips:


Hello – Say hello to your friends at the door. Show them where to put their shoes or coats. If they have never met your family, introduce them and show them around.

Share the Rules – Let them know any special house or party rules. Maybe a parent works from home and you cannot go play in the downstairs office. Or perhaps you are not allowed to play with toys that belong to your brother or sister. Is the dog friendly? Is your brother’s room off-limits?

Be Flexible – Try to be flexible on what to do together. Come up with different activities and ask your friend what he would like to do.

Welcome – Make your friend feel welcome. Ask them if they would like a drink or something to eat.

Goodbye – Always follow your guest to the door to say goodbye (even if you would rather finish playing the rest of the video game or watch a little more of the TV show…). And make sure you thank them for coming over!


Hello – Say hello to everyone in the house. Take your shoes off and ask where you should put them. Don’t just throw them in a big pile in the hallway!

Learn and Follow the Rules – Make sure to do what your host asks. If your friend tells you that you cannot disturb his old brother, listen. Never wander around a house by yourself. Stick with your friend and let him guide you. Respect all the belongings in the house. Don’t jump on their couch or climb on their furniture.

Goodbye – Thank your friend for inviting you over to his house. It is also nice to thank their parents. Thanking them all will leave a good impression.

The more your kids practice, the better they will become. For young kids, play charades with your child acting out different situations – exaggerating really good and bad playdate manners. Here’s a FREE Playdates (1254 downloads) activity page from the new activity book Lil’ Champs Play it SMART to get you started.

We’ve all invited THAT playdate friend that didn’t turn out quite the way you anticipated. Let’s make sure your child is not one of them. Have you had a nightmare playdate this summer?

Suzanne Wind About Suzanne Wind

Suzanne Wind is a wife, mom of three and author of the award-winning series, The SMART Playbook and Lil' Champs Play it SMART. Her passion is to empower parents to teach the next generation social skills that fit a modern world and are the key to their future successes. She writes about ideas and activities designed to help children gain confidence and character.
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