07 May 2010

When Playdates go wrong

What do you do when your child and his friend aren't having a good time at a playdate? 

Yesterday, my six year old had a friend over and they could not agree on activities.  They like each other but have different interests.  My six year old is a third child and likes to do things his older brothers do.  His friend is the oldest of three and still likes to play with Thomas.  One of the best parts of having play dates is that the kids keep each other happy and occupied.  Yesterday was NOT successful.

Usually, they find common ground and have a great time but yesterday they could not connect.  One wanted to go outside, one wanted to watch tv.  One wanted to play with legos, one wanted to do a craft. 

After struggling to keep them happy together, I finally gave up.  I decided that they could go back to the ways of toddlers in playgroups and have parallel play.  I made sure they stayed in the same location- either both down in the play room- one playing legos, the other a video game- or both outside- one swinging, one climbing or playing with balls. 

Finally, the afternoon ended with them both in the kitchen watching the older brothers work on the computer and helping me bake cookies.  (The great equalizer!)

It was a long play date but they got through it and so did I.  I doubt they will want to play again soon but eventually will have a meeting of the minds, I am sure.

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