Successful Play dates

January 13, 2015

One of the best ways to learn social skills is to actually practice these skills.  For parents with children on the spectrum play dates can be somewhat a stressful time.  What is if bombs? What if the kids don’t get along? How can I help my child socialize with peers? Here are some hints of how to have a successful play date.

  • Plan ahead – Pick a good time of day when your child is at his/her best and most rested.   Plan what the activities will be.  It is usually a good idea to have a list of ideas that way the child knows what to anticipate.
  • Favorite Toys – Put away favorite toys that your child may have difficulty sharing.
  • Start small – invite one friend at first to play.  The more children the more complex the social situation becomes.  Choose the right play date.  Does the friend seem to be a good match? Do they have similar interests?
  • Role Play – Practice ahead of time the way to play.   Try out rehearsal play.  This will help your child deal with social situations that may come up.
  • Be ready to coach during the date. Every child needs redirection and reminders about manners and appropriate behavior.
  • Plan for the ending – Whether your play date is long or short, your child should be prepared for the ending.  Practice giving a time count down such as a 5 minute reminder the play date is going to end.  Practice having a reward or incentive waiting for them after their friend leaves. Remember transitions are hard and no one likes to end a good time.

Happy play time!