The browser you are using is too old for our website. Please visit from Chrome and you will be able to browse normally.

View our ranges

What you need to know about your toddler's first playdate

Toddlers Playing Together

What you need to know about your toddler's first playdate

Introducing your toddler to playdates is well worthwhile. As parents, it’s important we show our children how to socialise with other kids so they learn social skills like cooperation and self-expression - and of course have fun. Giving your toddler opportunities to play with other children could make the transition to nursery and primary school easier, too.

But it’s important to remember that your toddler may not be equipped with the skills and understanding for social play immediately - every child acquires these skills at their own pace. Initially, your toddlers may simply ‘parallel play’ alongside each other perfectly happily, gradually becoming more interested in each other and interacting more closely, giggling, chatting and egging each other on in games.

Here’s some advice for your toddler’s first playdate:

Toddlers Playing With Water

Prep your toddler (and your home)

Not so they’re jumping off the walls with excitement, but explain who is coming to play and how you would like your child to behave - being kind and welcoming and sharing toys. Double-check your home is child-proofed for a guest who might not know to avoid certain objects.

Keep your first playdate short

An hour and a half is ample time. Arrange a time when your child is at their best; not nearing nap time or just before tea time, when there may be more potential for meltdowns.

But there may be tears - and that’s perfectly normal

It’s not yours, or your child’s fault. Toddlers under the age of three can find sharing a difficult concept to understand initially. If squabbles threaten to disrupt the playdate, step in and use a distraction technique, suggesting a new game or inviting them to stop and have a snack. If that doesn’t work, don’t punish your child for not playing ‘nicely’ but remove him from the fun for a few minutes so he can calm down and then go back and try again.

Toddlers Playing With Cuddly Toy

If squabbles threaten to disrupt the playdate, step in and use a distraction technique, suggesting a new game or inviting them to stop and have a snack.

Plan for fun

It’s a good idea to set something out as an immediate ice-breaker that enables your toddlers to ease into playing together, like modelling dough with rolling pins and shape cutters. Think of things they can do together. Playing with building blocks, toy cars, kitchen set and selecting outfits from the dressing-up box; all offer ample opportunity for imaginative play with a new toddler playmate.

Don’t leave toddlers alone

You and the other parent may be required to be involved in your children’s play, for example being served toy cups of tea or trundling cars on the floor - or simply act as admiring onlookers, praising and making occasional suggestions. During later playdates, once children are confident in each other’s company, you can step back a bit.

You don’t have to host

Suggesting meeting somewhere neutral like the park or a local soft play centre may be a good option, especially if you think your toddler may find it tricky sharing their possessions with a new playmate, or the other child might feel more confident in a more familiar location.

Talk about the playdate afterwards

Give your child specific praise and talk positively about your child’s new toddler playmate, the fun they had together and what they might like to do next time.

Aptamil Toddler Milks are tailored to your toddler’s stage of development. As your toddler begins to discover new foods, Aptamil Toddler Milks contain specific nutrients tailored to support their growth and development, as part of a varied, balanced diet.

Aptamil Toddler Milk contains:

  • Iron to support normal cognitive development
  • Vitamin D and calcium for normal bone development
  • Iodine which contributes to the normal growth of children

Source: The Huffington Post UK

Your baby's future health begins here

Your baby's future health begins here

At Aptaclub, we believe that experience helps to build resilience; that each new encounter, whether in pregnancy or after birth, can shape your baby’s future development. With our scientific expertise and one-to-one round the clock support, we can help you and your baby embrace tomorrow.

Join Aptaclub

Related articles

Your privacy is important to us and therefore we would like to explain how we use cookies on this website. With your consent, we will use cookies to measure and analyse how our website is used (analytical cookies), to tailor it to your interests (personalisation cookies), and to show you relevant advertising and information (targeting cookies) we think you will like. For more information please read the cookie statement.

Privacy Settings

You can choose your preferences anytime for cookies and tracking. For more information please read our cookie policy.

  • Strictly necessary

    They are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services (setting your privacy preferences, logging in, filling in forms, etc.). You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work.

  • Analytical cookies

    They allow us to count visits and traffic sources, to measure and improve the performance of our site. They show us which pages are the most and least popular and how visitors move around the site. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

  • Personalisation cookies

    They enable website’s enhanced functionality and personalization. They may be set by us or by third parties whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies, some or all of these services may not function properly.

  • Targeting cookies

    They may be set through our site by our advertising partners, to build a profile of your interests and to show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.