Thursday, June 2, 2011

Play Dates are not just for the kids...

When you first have your child, what do you do?  You find other mommies and say "let's get together for a play date."  Now, really.  Is your one month old really going to care and interact with the other little babies in the room like a scene from Look Who's Talking?  Of course not.  That's why play dates are just as important for the adults.

Don't get me wrong.  Social play for the children is key for development of most skills from language and pragmatics to turn taking and coordination.  But social play for the adults provides support and interaction that most of us are only getting on outlets like Facebook and Twitter.  And there is something terribly wrong with this.  As technology improves upon itself exponentially, younger and younger children are not learning basic non verbal communication skills like tone and body language.

So what can we do?  First, we could unplug.  And I know I could *should* do this more frequently, though Kyle always yells at me for leaving my phone somewhere where I can't hear it.  Turning off the electronics can help foster more communication and play with your spouse and kids.  I know we are guilty of getting the kids to bed and turning on the TV or iToy and not really having a lengthy conversation.

Second, call someone- don't text.  When did it become scary to talk to people on the phone? Better yet, have your child make the call for a play date.  It was always fun to talk on the phone and ask the special question, "Can Joe come over to play, PLEAASSEE????"  Then invite mom or dad over too.  Build a relationship with your kids' friends parents.  And have an outlet to talk to another adult human being without having to break up the "yah huh" and "nuh uh".

And if you are feeling really adventurous, make a new mom friend at a park.  Try out exchanging numbers or setting up another time to meet up.  Or even make a Mommy Card, a little business card with your children's names and picture as well as your phone number/email.  I recently purchased a set of these from The Mommy Card.  What I liked about them was the flexibility for the information you could put on them, like allergies, emergency contacts, and then stick it in your kids' bags, give to a parent, or a babysitter.

Anyway, all I am saying is the next time your child asks for a play date, tell him yes and ask if you can have one too....

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