Life with three kids can be crazy and hectic... then you add in a playmate... or two... or ten and it gets crazier and even more hectic. You have to keep "the brothers" away from Bella and any girl friends she has over. You have to keep Bella and Luca away from any friends Grayson has over. Then there's Luca... he doesn't really have any friends of his own yet, they are either everyone's friends or one of his siblings friends from school. The joys of school! You break away from your siblings and get a chance to be your own person and develop your own relationships.
We've had several play dates, some with my friends from work, some with both Ryan and I's friends, lots of cousin playdates, some with Bella's friends and some with Grayson's friends. Of course, there have been situations of not sharing, which is to be expected. There have been "she's bothering us" or "he won't stay out of my area!"... I usually try to have the kids trouble shoot or problem solve themselves. Sometimes that can't happen and I have to intervene.
Things have mostly gone well. No one ended up bleeding, with broken bones or drastically hurt feelings. There's been a couple situations worth sharing. One when Bella went to a friends house and came home to tell me what a grand time she had. She played and was super excited to hang out at someone's house besides ours. She came home and the mom sent me a message saying Bella had hurt the child's feelings. No reason to share the details... however I talked to Bella and explained what the mom had said. Turns out, Bella didn't even mean to hurt the child's feelings but she came up with a plan on her own. Monday at school she would talk to the child and apologize because even if she didn't intend to cause hurt feelings, she did and SHE didn't want that child to feel sad or have any hurt feelings. She came home Monday and told me the situation. Seems like it had all worked out except she hasn't been invited to play with that child again... which has caused some hurt feelings on her end... So we've talked about it and just explained that sometimes things don't work out as you plan and that's okay. They can still be school friends and when the child and his parents are ready, maybe they'll invite her over... and if they aren't, no big deal. We move on and still be school friends. Besides we can't hang out with EVERYONE outside of school!
Another time, Grayson had a friend over. Turns out, the kid had ZERO manners. Like nada. "I want something to drink NOW" the child said. My response "I'm happy to get you something to drink when you use some manners"... "I don't have to use manners"... "Um at our house you do, so let me know when you'd like something to drink". The playdate continued, still the same thing throughout the evening... including some pushing of Luca. He was hugging the child and promptly got knocked to the floor. I talked to Luca about keeping his hands to himself and to the child about keeping their hands to his/her self as well. Little brothers aren't to be pushed at our house... "well I push my sibling ALL the time and no one cares"... "well at our house, we get time outs for not treating people with respect". Oh boy! Do you discipline a child that's not your own? Do you call the parents? Do you talk to the parents after? Yikes, tough. I haven't talked to the parents, I didn't call the parents, I didn't discipline the child... however I would want to know as the parent.
Feel free to share your "good" playdate tips, your problem solving ideas or what you do when a playdate isn't quite working out! I'd love insight!