Play Date Swaps…”what is that?” you might be wondering. Well, it’s something that has truly been a delight to participate in with fellow stay-at-home-moms and their kids. The idea is rather simple…and once you have a good routine down, it is AWESOME. Both Sarah and I have enjoyed it and would highly recommend finding a way to make it work!
I will explain how we have done it and you can decide what would work best for you and your “people.” 🙂
– I have 4 kids…one goes to all day school now. So, the 3 remaining kids and I have gotten together with 1 and/or 2 other moms and their kids.
– This all depends on how many kids you have, how old they are, and how well they get along. It can be spectacular if the kids enjoy each other and play nicely. There are bound to be moments of chaos, but it’s just moments.
– We have always done it in the morning hours, with a lunch, and then everyone goes home for naps…so, roughly 9:30 to 12:30.
– The BEST part is, while the 1 or 2 moms are taking care of the group of kids, that other mom gets to go and do whatever she pleases!!! Grocery shop without kiddies, have coffee alone, go for a run, clean the house, read, study, shoe shop, haha, whatever she wants!
– Actually, the best part is having your kids enjoy this time with others…growing, learning, exploring, socializing and respecting another adult while you are away.
A few more things that seemed to work well for us in the past:
– Take turns hosting…come up with a rotation.
– Whomever hosts stays while the other mom gets time away.
– Whomever hosts makes the main course of the lunch.
– Whomever is the “visitor” brings a snack and fruits/veggies.
– We usually do easy meals like PB&J, mac n’ cheese, pasta with veggies sauce, or quesadillas…something that everyone in that crowd likes.
– It’s also kind of nice to have a special “mommy lunch” but not necessary…it’s not like the moms get to sit down and leisurely eat 🙂
– A craft is nice to have planned, but free play is great too.
– Scholastic videos are awesome to pop in while the hosting mom is making lunch!
– If there’s a mom with a newborn, she can have some quality alone time with her baby…which might be rare if she has other children.
– If you are doing this with more than 1 mom, you can even break up the time frame, so 1 mom gets away for 1 1/2 hours and the next mom gets away for the last 1 1/2 hours…or whatever your time frame is.
|One of our larger-sized groups…10 kids this time!
One of the challenges (for me at least with 4 kids) is I feel like my kids catch an illness so often and out of respect for the other kids (not spreading germs) I have to cancel. That’s such a bummer when it’s the other mom’s turn to get time away. If that happens, you can always work to find another day to make it up, but it’s just a bummer.
Another TWIST to this arrangement…naptime swaps. I have 2 kids who still nap and 1 who doesn’t, but isn’t in school yet. So, one of my friends and I have just started randomly taking turns hosting that non-napper for a couple of hours so that just one of our homes has total quiet time. Those non-nappers participate in “quiet” activities and even “rest” for a 30-45 minute movie. Just another idea for you!