Read our newest research on the R.O.I. of Caregiving! Download the report here.

We're here for you.

Sign up for our newsletter here.



How to Plan a Great Playdate

We’re here for you.

Share your email, and we’ll share our world.

Hosting a playdate for your toddler or preschooler is a great way for your child to get some fun socialization with playmates their own age, and for you to get to know other parents.

But just because playdates are an important part of your child’s (and dare we say, your?) social development doesn’t mean they’re easy! Playdating can be awkward, time-consuming to plan and exhausting!

But with the right prep work, you can host the chillest, happiest play date that’ll have parents and toddlers alike begging to come back. All it takes is a little planning and a lot of snacks.

Here are our top six tips for how to plan a great playdate for your toddler or preschooler.

1. Choose the right time.

Choosing the right time key, especially with the under-5 crowd.

Try to avoid planning a playdate when your child is likely to be tired. For example, if your little one is used to having quiet reading time with a parent immediately after school, it can be jarring to go to a playdate instead. That’s when they’re used to resting! Choose a time when you know your child will be at their best and invite accordingly.

Make sure your child is well rested ahead of time to avoid moody meltdowns.

2. Choose the right place.

Benefits of hosting at home: your snack drawer, toys and coffee pot. But, if your child is in a bit of a “mine” phase, hosting the playdate at your own house may not be ideal for the first time.

Instead, suggest a neutral spot like a park or the library. The benefits of hosting out and about: new experiences for your child, less messes for you to take personal responsibility for.

3. Invite the right guests.

Ask your child who they would like to have a playdate with. If they can’t articulate quite yet, ask their teacher for an idea of their favorite playmates.

Don’t be afraid to invite fellow daycare or preschool parents you haven’t met yet. Part of the beauty of joining a new community with our children is meeting parents of the other littles in the group. You may not have all the same things in common as friends you’ve made in other times in your life, but you do have one thing in common: your children. That’s often enough to build a lifelong friendship… or at least a semi-regular 60-minute hang.

4. Snacksnacksnacks.

Not having snacks: bad, horrible, no good playdate.

Having snacks: great, awesome, amazing playdate!

Nothing makes or breaks a playdate quite like snacks. Load up on all your kiddos’ favorites and then plenty of extras because there’s only one thing toddlers and preschoolers like better than snacks: other people’s snacks!

It works on the parents, too. If you’re at home, have a pot of coffee going or some extra La Croix. Nothing makes people feel more welcome than knowing you have snacks and treats for them.

Be considerate of potential allergies or off-limit foods (one toddler’s snacks might be another toddler’s “holiday only” treats!); a quick text to your playdate guest will go a long way towards creating parent goodwill.

5. Plan an activity.

Even if you’re hoping for a more organic, go-with-the-flow kind of playdate, it’s never a bad idea to plan some activities ahead of time—just in case. This will keep the littles entertained and keep the grown-ups from stressing about entertaining the children.

Ideas include: nature walk collecting leaves or sticks, picnic, coloring or painting, air dry clay, cooperative gaming, or a play invitation with found objects like toilet paper rolls and other recycling.

6. Decompress post-playdate.

Social interaction is hard—for you and your child! Make sure you take time after every playdate to decompress. Spend time snuggling together on the sofa with a few books or a favorite show. Your little one will need comfort after a busy day of sharing and taking turns.

Playdate host parent: take a break for yourself! A solo trip to Target after bedtime, or even a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood can do wonders after hosting another family that you might not have known very well. Being social can take a toll on all of us.

Experience the Vivvi™ difference for yourself.

Meet us online for a safe, smile filled open house.