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The Pros of Playdates for Toddlers

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Between ages 1 and 3, your child will go through incredible stages of physical, mental and social development. It's important that you nurture all three of these as your little one grows, and playdates are some of the best ways to encourage social development in toddlers.

Just like adults, toddlers like to be around others - it's part of being human, after all. Having a social circle is important to everyone, including our kids, according to What to Expect. However, beyond social development, there are plenty of pros to consider if you're on the fence about playdates. Here are a few:

1. It gives you a breather

There's no doubt that toddlers become quite attached to their moms and dads at this age. What to Expect even compares the relationship to Velcro. Allowing your little one to explore with toddlers will help her gain independence, which is a very important trait to learn at the toddler stage.

2. It allows you to observe

When your child is playing with someone else, you get the opportunity to see how he or she is developing socially. That way, when you have questions for your pediatrician about your daughter's progress, you can pinpoint to specific moments from the playdate to get more concrete answers. This will also give your a first-hand look at your child's personality, as interacting with others is a big part of it.

Playdates can boost physical and cognitive development.

3. You get to meet other parents.

Being a mom or dad is not easy sometimes, and playdates allow you to build up a social circle that understands your frustrations. And, if you need advice, you have a reliable group of people who know what it's like to raise a toddler to give you a few pointers.

4. Your child needs to play

According to a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is "essential to the social, emotional, cognitive and physical well-being of children in early childhood." It boosts their creativity, intellect and physical activity, and teaches them the importance of sharing, being kind to others and negotiating.

5. It builds your child's individuality

Interacting with other children helps your kid determine her likes and dislikes, as she is exposed to another individual's thinking, culture and customs. Letting her choose what friends she wants to hang out with also allows her to feel empowered.

6. Your child will get to experience parallel play

Playdates are also beneficial for children's social development because of parallel play (playing independently, but side by side with other children). According to Healthline, parallel play bolsters language and fine motor skills, encourages children to embrace self-expression, and teaches them about social interactions and boundaries. So, even if your kid is more introverted, there are definitely benefits to having playdates.

No parent should feel pressured to host playdates, but there are many reasons why they should consider trying them out, at least on a trial basis. With so many pros, playdates are definitely worth considering for your child's social, emotional, cognitive and physical development. 

 
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