When Playdates go Wrong!

October 4, 2012

Playdates have the potential to be exciting and enriching experiences for young children, but at the same time can be disastrous.

One child could be pushy while the other could be over-sensitive. The children could be too competitive or simply incompatible. And of course you have the potential problem of sharing toys, or not, as this is a concept most two and three years olds don't have in their repertoire of skills.

You will know fairly early in the relationship if it is going to work. Give it time, try a few dates, but if things are really off track and unpleasant, don't be afraid to cut your losses.

Before it comes to this, you may want to try and have the playdates at your house, because at your house, it is your rules. If roughhousing is a problem, you can tell the visitors of the rules at your house, and have toys and activities ready that encourage gentler play.

Often the problem with stopping these dates is hurt feelings on the part of the parents. Parents are very defensive of their children, and even though they know of their child's bad or unacceptable behaviour, they can become hurt, even angry when playdates are ended.

So how honest should you be? Some child psychologists suggest that you should not be totally honest. Instead suggest that possibly your child is not ready yet for this kind of relationship.

Luckily, children are amazingly resilient and will not be nearly as upset about these changes as you are.