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The Importance of Play Dates
It’s hard to believe that my eldest is getting ready to graduate from preschool. It just flew by. I blinked and she went from a sweet little baby in my arms to a big sassy princess-dress-wearing Hot Wheels-racing girl. Soon she’ll be off to school for the full day instead of just half days, leaving me alone with her sister who will be turning 2 very soon.
The girls play well with each other…most of the time. They have their moments, as all siblings do. Sometimes I feel like I can’t get a single thing done when the bickering begins though. I try to help them work out their issues and get them to share and play nice. After all, siblings make for nice playmates.
And as good as that is though, it’s equally as important for children with siblings to have play dates with other children their age, for several reasons:
A life of their own
My children are my world and I suspect yours are your world, and we are the center of their universe, but it is really important they experience life for themselves. We tell them when to do everything and during a play date, they get to call the shots. “Let’s play dress up! Let’s have a tea party!” This bit of independence goes a long way to helping your child be the fabulous little person that they are.
Developing friendships and connections
While my youngest is too young for school, she needs play dates as much as her big sister does. Making friends only gets harder the older you get. When children are in school, it’s a lot easier to make friends. I’ve started making sure to get to know the moms of the children my big girl likes to play with at school so we can get our children together even for just an hour of play time here and there. Luckily, I’ve found that many of these children are also the elder sibling in the family and usually have a younger brother or sister for my other one to play with.
The discovery of other family units
When my kids get a chance to play with other children, especially in their homes, they get to see what other families are like. Each family has their own ritual and own set of rules so when my kids are in a friend’s home, they learn how to be respectful and show good manners as guests. Since we rent an apartment until we can buy a home of our own, it’s always nice to visit friends in a larger dwelling. Friends with pets are also fun because my girls love animals and we don’t have the time, space or budget to truly care for another creature.
Play dates helps enrich our children’s lives in many ways. They even help to make our own better when we get to cultivate new friendships of our own.