The COVID-19 pandemic gave parents the perfect idea to still bond with their children even if they are busy working abroad, which is the online playdates. Technology has stepped in to fill the gap, allowing parents and children to connect with their peers and loved ones from a distance.
Online playdates are the latest craze, offering fantastic opportunities for parents to bond with their children and help them develop social skills even in the absence of physical interaction.
But how do you go about organizing a successful online playdate? What are the dos and don’ts of virtual interactions with children? This guide to online playdates will provide you with all the information you need to make the most of this innovative solution.
From choosing the right platform and setting up a conducive environment to coming up with fun and engaging activities, we’ve got you covered. We’ll also be sharing
1. Choose a platform for your online playdate, such as Zoom or Skype.
As technology has advanced, parents are exploring new ways to bond with their children, even if they aren’t in the same location.
Online playdates are becoming increasingly popular, allowing parents and children to play, sing, and read together from different locations.
To begin with, you will need to choose a platform for your online playdate- there are many options out there, but two of the most popular are Zoom and Skype.
Both of these platforms provide video conferencing capabilities, so you and your child can see and hear each other in real time.
There are also other features available, such as screen sharing, virtual backgrounds, and chat, so you can truly personalise your online playdate experience.
When deciding which platform to use, consider the age of your child, the number of participants, and the level of interaction you want to have with each other.
Moreover, make sure that you have a good internet connection and a device that is compatible with the platform you choose to ensure a smooth and enjoyable playdate.
2. Schedule a specific time and date for your playdate, just as you would for an in-person playdate.
When planning an online playdate with your child, the key is to create a sense of routine and structure. One effective way to do this is to schedule a specific time and date for your playdate, just as you would for an in-person playdate.
This not only helps to establish consistency but also ensures that you and your child are both fully engaged and present during your time together.
When selecting a time and date, be sure to consider your child’s schedule and preferences, as well as your own availability. It’s important to set realistic expectations and to be flexible, as plans may need to be adjusted from time to time.
Ultimately, the goal is to create a positive and enjoyable experience for both you and your child, and scheduling a specific time and date can help to facilitate this.
3. Choose age-appropriate activities for your child, such as virtual games or craft projects.
As parents, it can be challenging to come up with age-appropriate activities for our children. However, when it comes to online playdates, choosing appropriate activities becomes even more crucial.
Engaging with virtual games or craft projects can be an excellent way to connect with your child during an online playdate. When selecting virtual games or crafts, consider your child’s age and interests.
For younger children, consider virtual storytimes or games that involve simple clicking and dragging. Older children may enjoy more complex virtual board games or craft projects that require more advanced skills.
By choosing age-appropriate activities, you can ensure that your child is engaged, entertained, and feel connected during online playdates.
4. Prepare materials for the activities ahead of time, such as colouring pages or game boards.
One of the important things to remember when planning an online playdate with your child is to prepare the necessary materials ahead of time.
This includes colouring pages, game boards, or any other activities that you plan on doing during the online session.
By doing so, you ensure that the playdate runs smoothly and there are no delays or interruptions due to having to search for materials during the session.
It also shows your child that you value their time and are invested in making the playdate enjoyable for them.
Additionally, if you are playing a game with your child, it’s helpful to review the rules together before starting the game to avoid confusion or disagreements later on.
Overall, taking the time to prepare materials and plan ahead can make a significant difference in making the online playdate a success.
5. Use the opportunity to teach your child new skills, such as how to use technology or how to work on a joint project.
Online playdates are a great way to bond with your child, even if you can’t be physically close. One fantastic way to take advantage of this opportunity is to teach your child new skills.
Many children today are already proficient in using technology, but there are always new programs and apps to explore.
Working on a joint project, such as painting or building something, can also be a fun and productive way to spend time together.
Use these moments to encourage creativity, communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills.
In addition to providing new knowledge to your child, sharing the experience of learning something new together can be a powerful bonding experience that will strengthen your relationship.
6. Encourage your child to share their own interests and hobbies with their playdate partner.
Encouraging your child to share their own interests and hobbies with their playdate partner is a great way to foster mutual appreciation and trust between them.
Allowing your child to take the lead in their online playdate and share their own passions can help them develop real-world social skills and the ability to communicate effectively.
For instance, if your child is really into Lego building, suggest that they show their playdate partner some of their favourite creations, or even build something together.
If your child is a budding artist, encourage them to share their drawings or paintings with their playdate partner, and ask them to share their own artistic endeavours as well.
By encouraging mutual sharing, you provide your child with an opportunity to learn about different interests, develop new skills, and expand their horizons, all while bonding with their playdate partner.
7. Use the time to connect with other parents and build relationships with other families in your community.
One fantastic way to make the most out of your online playdates is to use the time to connect with other parents and build relationships with other families in your community.
Although playdates are originally meant for children to socialise and have fun, parents can also utilise the time to strike up a conversation and get to know other parents.
This is a great opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and build relationships that go beyond playdates, which can ultimately benefit your family in the long run.
You can use online playdates to share parenting tips, discuss shared interests, or even explore opportunities for community involvement that can lead to lasting friendships.
By using this time to establish connections, you can ensure that online playdates remain not just an opportunity for your child to have fun, but also a chance for your family to build a strong network of support and relationships.
8. Always prioritise safety and monitor the online playdate to ensure a positive and enjoyable experience for all involved.
Online playdates have become a popular way for children to connect with their friends and loved ones, even if they are physically far away.
However, it is important to always prioritise safety and monitor the experience to ensure that it remains positive and enjoyable for everyone involved.
Before the playdate begins, it is recommended that parents discuss online safety rules with their children, including the importance of not sharing personal information and only communicating with people they know in real life.
During the playdate, it is important to remain present and attentive to the conversation and behaviour of all children involved. Parents should also stay in the same room or within earshot to be able to intervene if necessary.
By taking these safety precautions, online playdates can be a fun and engaging activity for children and their loved ones.
In conclusion, online playdates can be a fantastic way to bond with your child, even if you are far away. With a little creativity and planning, you can create a fun and engaging experience that will keep your child connected with you and their friends.
Whether it’s playing games, doing art projects, or just chatting and catching up, online playdates provide a valuable opportunity for parents and children to stay connected and share meaningful experiences, no matter the distance between them.
So go ahead and give it a try, and see how much fun you can have together!
Also read: Planning A Playdate For Your Toddler In The New Normal? Follow These 7 Guidelines