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Play Dates Offer Parents Free Time and Flexibility

Swap Play Dates With Another Parent to Create Regular Pockets of "Me Time"


Two girls enjoy playing outside on a play date.

Set some ground rules when you schedule a play date.

Photo © Daniel Pangbourne / Getty Images

As a single parent, it's extremely important that you find time for yourself. One quick and easy way to do this is to swap play dates with another parent.

Play Dates at Your House

Begin by offering to host a play date at your house. It may be helpful to set a time limit on the play date and to create some ground rules for what the kids can do. For example:

  • Encourage the kids to actually play together rather than doing something passive like watching TV.

  • Talk with your child ahead of time about what he or she would like to do.

  • Encourage the kids to take turns deciding how to spend their time.

  • If disagreements take place, don't despair. Encourage the kids work it out between themselves.

  • If a distraction is needed, suggest that the kids engage in a different activity.

  • Have some "go to" board games on hand.

Play Dates at the Other Child's House

Chances are, your child will also be invited to the other child's house for a play date. If you don't know the family well, consider suggesting that you get together at a nearby park once or twice until you are more comfortable with one another. In addition:

  • Talk with your child about your expectations for his or her behavior before the play date takes place.

  • Encourage your child to use his or her best manners.

  • Role play how you'd like your child to handle various situations, such as arguing over a toy or not wanting to eat a snack or meal that is served.

  • During the actual play date, try to force yourself to enjoy some down time. This means not doing chores or work unless you find these tasks rejuvenating.

  • Instead, take a walk, go window shopping, or visit a friend.
Related Video
How to Plan Great Play Dates

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