More time inside, more opportunities for play dates.... which in theory sound AWESOME- kids play and mamas get to catch up.... right??!!!
So here is where we will begin-- respect. I tell my son that we are going to someone else's home and they are sharing their toys with us. We treat their things with care and we help clean up when it is time to go. Have I had to have conversations with our son before about breaking a toy (even on accident)- yes- but the point is- we have the conversation. He understands that we are guests in someone else's home, and that there are natural consequences if his behavior gets out of control. If he isn't listening or being respectful of the friend and their things, the playdate is over. Period. No bargaining. Even if he is crying and says he is very cross with me (he is a Thomas fan!), my message and expectation remains consistent.
When we host playdates, he may choose to put some of his toys away that will not be available, but the rule is that if it is out, it is available for a friend to use.
I also know that within my circle of friends, we all have a similar understanding/way that we handle the situation. We are still able to catch up, but it is not a free for all romper room!
That changes when your child's circle of friends expand and you and your child are invited over to someone else's home for a play date. They might not have the same expectations, so I suggest having a conversation before the playdate so that everyone is on the same page. Talk about what their "rules of the house" are, and then make sure to convey that information in a way that your child is able to understand.
I recall vividly the first playdate that our son had- I wasn't teaching full time anymore and I felt so awkward. I didn't want to step on the rules of the home we were in, but I also wanted to make sure that my son was being respectful. This mom (who has become a dear friend) was understanding and put me at ease.
* Talk about expectations/house rules with host mom ahead of time
* Talk with your child about those rules and remind them about respect
* Allow your child to have fun and play, but be available for support if the children need assistance working through a situation
* Help your child clean up at the end of the play date.
* Show appreciation and gratitude to the host family- say thank you so that your child sees that is how we show grace and courtesy.
Beth is a mom first and foremost. She is also a trained Montessori teacher who is passionate about making the lofty ideals of the Montessori philosophy more real and manageable for families.