Entertaining a toddler all day is hard work. The solution? Toddler playdates with other toddler mums.
But making new mum friends isn’t always a walk in the park. It’s more like a light jog in the park. In the pouring rain. With your dog’s lead wrapped around your leg. While also trying to convince your toddler to sit in his pram. Oh, and carrying your infant. Who just happened to do a massive poo in her nappy.
Point being – it can be tricky. And awkward.
Having another human to talk to during the day, who doesn’t constantly answer you with ‘no’, can make for a refreshing change. Don’t get me wrong – preschoolers, toddlers, even babies are fun (okay, babies, not always so much). But we all need adult interaction. Even if it’s in the form of a playdate.
If you’re looking to take your mum acquaintance up a notch and transcend into the friend zone, here are a few uncomplicated, bake-free ways to make that first mum friend playdate with toddlers a success.
Toddler Playdate Rules that’ll Save Your Sanity
1. Hide all the glitter
If you’re hosting, do yourself a favour and keep the craft drawer locked. This will save you hours of clean-up later if the kids happen to come across your paint, glitter, glue, confetti stash and want to make something
While you’re hiding stuff, you might also want to put away any items that are extra valuable or embarrassing. Like glassware. Or sex toys. Wandering toddlers have a way of finding these items. And bringing them out of hiding.
2. Always pack extra clothing
Just in case there’s a poo explosion on the way over. Or your toddler decides to jump in a muddy puddle right before you knock on the door. It happens.
3. Bring beverages. Or serve them
Not necessarily rosé, especially during a morning playdate. That might be a bit weird. But it’s always nice to have a hot or cold beverage in front of you, to casually sip when the conversation drops off. And to keep you hydrated when you yell at your kids to behave.
4. Keep it minimal
Two hours is pretty standard.
5. Serve food in super cute dishes
Even if the food comes from a package, if it’s served in a cute dish or serving platter, then it’s a success. Of course, if you really want to impress, you can always whip up a lemon cake like this one. Hahaha, just joking. We promised no baking, remember!
6. Eat what is offered
Unless you have some sort of dietary restriction, it’s polite to eat what is served. Or at least try it. Even if it’s a little off your regular snack routine and looks like something the cat threw up.
7. Avoid nappy changes on the couch
Some mums don’t like risking a poo stain on their new lounge. Choose a different area. Or ask if there is a preferred nappy changing area of the house. Like a change table, perhaps.
8. Keep the kids away from the pets
If your guest has a cat or dog, refrain from letting your toddler continuously point at it, poke it or pick it up. No harassing the animals allowed.
If you’re hosting and have pets, perhaps save their sanity and lock them in the garage for the playdate. This eliminates the risk of your guest’s child being scratched after trying to flush your cat down the toilet.
9. Watch the kids
It’s their playdate, after all. Probably a good idea to keep an eye on them, you know, in between sipping your rosé and protecting your pets from accidental drowning.
10. Take the tantrums as they come
There’s a 50/50 chance your toddler playdate is going to end in tears. It’s one of the unspoken rules of playdates. It might be your child. Or your guest’s child. It will probably involve a toy.
You may find that you’re spending more time breaking up fights than actually conversing with your new mum friend. If this is the case, try not to consider the toddler playdate a huge failure. It’s pretty common, really. Even if the event ended in tears, it’s always polite to reciprocate.
Whether you played the role of the guest or the host, offer to take on the other role next. Or, suggest a neutral zone like a park or indoor playground. Sure, these venues may not sell wine. But at least you don’t have to clean up…
Ready to mingle and meet other mums? Check out these 10 places to meet new parents and make mummy friends.