Encourage Your Nanny to Host/Attend Play Dates

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playdatePlay dates can be a hot-button issue for parents and their nannies, with both parties often falling on opposite sides of the fence. As a nanny employer, you may want to think twice before you forbid play dates outright or choose not to encourage your nanny to host or attend them with your child.

There are a host of benefits that can come with participation in a play group, both for your child and his nanny.

These are ten of the reasons why it may be smarter for you to provide your nanny with a bit of a nudge in the play group direction, or to consider relenting if you’ve previously held a no-play-date stance.

  • Play Dates Help to Socialize Kids – Kids who aren’t yet old enough to attend preschool and who don’t have siblings may not have much opportunity to spend time with other kids, which can leave them a bit lacking in the area of socialization. Spending time at play dates with other kids allows them to become more accustomed to social situations, helping them to get prepared for enrollment in school.
  • Encouraging Active Play – Left to their own devices, kids may be more eager to spend the afternoon in front of the television than engaging in active play. Since a sedentary lifestyle can have such negative effects on a child’s health, encouraging play dates is a wise move, as it also encourages active, creative group play.
  • Beating Nanny Isolation – If your nanny is new to the area, works long shifts or is otherwise isolated from people her own age, that isolation can take its toll after a while. Encouraging her to become an active member in a play group, especially one largely attended by other nannies, can help her beat that isolation, stave off burnout and even reduce the likelihood of turnover.
  • Peak Play Date Times are Typically During Nanny’s Shift – Play dates are best when kids are well rested, which is typically after their morning nap. Unfortunately, this is also the time when most working parents are out of the house and the nanny is left in charge. If you want your child to be a part of a play group, encouraging your nanny to participate may be the only way to arrange a regularly scheduled play date.
  • Nanny-Hosted Play Dates Keep Kids Out of Strangers’ Houses – Some parents aren’t wild about the idea of their children spending time in the home of another parent, even if their trustworthy and dependable nanny will be on site. When Nanny is the host, your child is able to reap the benefits of participating in a play group without spending time in the home of strangers.
  • Exposing Kids to New Environments – While some parents absolutely loathe the idea of their child being in the home of someone else, others are eager to expose their kids to new and exciting environments. When your nanny is present, your child is able to experience new places while still under the watchful eye of an attentive, trusted childcare provider.
  • Play Dates Offer a More Controlled Environment Than the Park – The local park or playground is a favorite destination of nannies eager to get out of the house while encouraging a bit of active play, but the environment at a hosted play group is more structured and more easily controlled than that of a playground outing.
  • Non-Driving Nannies Can Still Participate When They Host – Some nannies don’t drive, while others aren’t cleared to do so with their charges by their employers. If your nanny is one that doesn’t drive, encouraging her to act as host for a regular play group will allow both Nanny and child to socialize without the rigors of using mass transit.
  • Helping Kids Learn Conflict Resolution Skills – Parents and caregivers never like to hear the children under their care argue with one another, but the occasional disagreement can, when allowed to resolve on its own, teach kids valuable conflict resolution skills that will be important to them as they get older.
  • She’s Eager to Organize a Playgroup – If your nanny has dropped the occasional hint about hosting and organizing a regular play group and you have yet to give her the go-ahead, now might be the perfect time. Encourage her to keep the group on a small scale, at least until everyone is acclimated to the new arrangement, and know that your child is enjoying the company of his peers while his nanny gets to have a bit of adult conversation from time to time.

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Thanks to Sara Dawkins

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