Sounding Board


What can I do to make my 5 year old daughters playdates more successful?

Query: My little girl has just started school and I am really keen to make it easy for her to make some friends and thought a few play dates would be good. Without over thinking them thought the forum may have some good ideas!

Reply: thanks for your email and we have written a few ideas below from a speech therapist who specialises in the early years.

What are the signs of a successful playdate? (some of these are tongue in cheek!) • No serious injuries • Minimal adult supervision needed (so you can get on with your list of 101 things to do) • Children who want to do it again!

Successful playdates are complicated. By 5 years, children are expected to choose activities together and enjoy them. Change of activity can be signalled by host or guest, and an agreement must be found. Being able to play in this way with others involves having a theory of mind. Recognising how you feel or think about the activity, and how your guest thinks or feels. It helps you compromise. It helps you be a better playmate. For example, two children are playing vets. Every time they play Molly insists on being the vet because it’s her stethoscope. Jessica gets bored of being the customer so stops wanting to play the game. We know from research this type of understanding can be delayed for children with a hearing loss.

Top tips for successful playdates • Think ahead: Talk with your daughter about what they’ll play with and how. • Plan ahead: Could they bake cakes? Make a sun catcher? Play hairdressers? • Guide: Don’t over manage but be around. Encourage the girls to think about the others perspectives and feelings. Can they talk about their favourites, horrible things, how they feel about what they’ve done? • Reflect: What went well and why. If hearing or overhearing was a challenge is there anyway of changing that for next time?

For lots of ways to find out about theory of mind:

Sounding Board Theory of Mind

Posted on October 2, 2017 11:57


Have a look at this interesting article which has some specific ideas around managing play dates, just scroll down to the relevant paragraph:

Posted by Diana Harbor on October 3, 2017 12:30

You must be logged in to post your comments. Login »

The Ear Foundation Limited. Registered office: Marjorie Sherman House, 83 Sherwin Road, Lenton, Nottingham, NG7 2FB.

A company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales number 3482779, registered charity number 1068077