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Save the Play Dates!

Calling another mom to plan a play date for your child does not seem out the ordinary. Sure it is probably not the way we were raised but times are changing and the way we communicate is evolving. I recently discovered that a dad blogger posted his reasons for wanting to vanish play dates for children! I am against this idea. He argued that children who are involved in play dates lack the ability to be spontaneous or that the word "date" just gives parents the wrong idea. Here is why I am pro play date: 1. Play dates do not cause children to lack spontaneity: Kids on play dates are still free to choose the activities they play and how they play. They are free to build a forts, play dress up or make believe they are super heroes. 2. Play date planning teaches children to be organized: This is a skill many children (and teens) are lacking nowadays. By planning and showing/teaching your child why planning is important, your child will be able to model and apply this skill. Do not always plan for them, plan with your children! 3. Play dates do not have to be an adult social gathering: Having one parent who rotates and plans to have five children (at most and not all day) is something most parents would be willing to accept. This can mean every parent has some time to his/her to do list or to just relax! 4. Play dates teach children to socialize: Many children are lacking even mediocre social skills (due to being surrounded with technology all day). By having a play date children can learn to communicate verbally, resolve problems in person and speak up for themselves. 5. Play dates can give children a break from technology: Today children are growing up with at least two to three forms of daily access to technology. Kids are either on the Ipad, a game system, computer, smart phone or TV. Having a chance to play with other kids instead of being inside becoming best friends with their virtual game is a great way for them to grow and evolve! 6. Play dates can benefit children who otherwise would not take a social risk: Children with autism and ADHD are two predominant groups of kids who would not typically befriend or take a chance in making new friends. By gathering with other kids during play dates they have a chance to learn communication techniques and experience friendships. Encourage your children to go out, plan, socialize and leave technology behind! Do not get carried away, play dates do not have to be over planned. Simply schedule, get together and let your child learn, be creative and have some time to just be kids! And if you are looking to attend a playdate or even set up your own you can do that easily on Tampa Bay Moms Group on TBMG's Activities Calendar here!

For questions, comments or more information please contact Mrs. Stephanie, Licensed Mental Health Counselor at: Mrs. Stephanie specializes in providing counseling services, through support and guidance catered to each adolescent, family and young adult at a time. Mrs. Stephanie speaks "teenager," she is successful in being able to relate easily with teens and young adults. She helps clients feel happier, become more social, interact more with family members, improve academic and conduct performance at school, succeed at work, improve friendships and transition to and from college. Mrs. Stephanie facilitates counseling therapy sessions in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. She believes in educating clients about mental health symptoms, preventative services and working towards eventual session termination. So tell us... what do you think about playdates?

Do you have them? Why or why not?

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