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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Preschool Pointers - 31: Playdates and Parties


Where you normally have one (or for us lucky ones, two) four year olds to keep busy, somehow you convinced yourself that having a group playdate would be a grand idea. After you're done crying in your room, you still have to entertain them.


Whatever you do, do not ask them what they want to do. Even one four year old can't figure that out. Put eight together and there is no way anyone is coming out alive. On the other hand, do not  have a plan. Seriously. You've got to be able to go with the flow, make decisions on the fly, and gauge the situations as they come up to make sure everyone stays happy. Or at least relatively calm.

So, when you've got eight pairs of eyes staring you down, start a game. Remember, grown ups are still cool to kids this age. Grown ups they hardly know but know they can trust are even cooler. They will give you the benefit of the doubt. Lead them in a game. The other day I first did doctor, where I was the triage nurse and each of them lined up to be seen, giving me their pretend ailments, then going to sit on the patient couch. One of them was the doctor, and after each one got seen, she became the next doctor. This way everyone is involved playing not one but two roles. Then you can make one of them the nurse and step out of the game entirely. Do not forget this step. It's the best part.

Another thing I did was restaurant. First I played the waiter and took some kids' orders. I called for a chef and a few of them piled into the "kitchen" to make the food. Then I was a customer and made an order. Then I stepped out.

Just let them play and step in when shit gets rowdy, then step back out. You can have a few activities, that's a good thing. Just don't plan them in cement at certain times for certain lengths. Be ready for change.

And breathe. You did a good thing. Maybe another parent will return the favor someday.



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