As our school year groups wrapped up to pause until September, I had the great pleasure of kids asking for me to help them have playdates with each other over the summer. I love being their matchmaker!
I think one of the most rewarding aspects of my role as a social coach is to see the sparks of real friendships turn into flames of truly connected relationships for kids. For many, this can be the very first real friendship experience.
I often tell kids that friends are not necessarily found among schoolmates, and one must embark on a treasure hunt in other places, because your friends are out there.
When a connection or multiple connections occur within a group, I ask both families for permission to connect them via email, and then they take it from there. One vital element is to treat these playdates that are set up as a most important appointment. For kids who are getting some of their first invitations to play, the goal is to try and make this happen, no matter what.
For kids who have struggled in the past on playdates, having a planned activity or agenda will add some necessary structure, as is having the kids on the parental radar while they are together. Another benefit of finding friends in a social group or a place where there are common interests, is that you almost inherently meet another parent who will “get” your child, which may alleviate your anxiety about judgement for when your child hits a bump.