by Dr. Gail Gross
You’re having one of those weeks when you feel like your life is run by a pint-sized dictator. The toddler of the house has consumed your every waking hour, commandeered your schedule, and dominated your thoughts. You know you need a break, but your partner is traveling out of town for work and your babysitting options have just run out. What’s a desperate mom to do?
Try scheduling a playdate. Yes, playdates are fabulous opportunities for your child to learn social skills and make new friends, but there are also many benefits for mom as well.
6 reasons playdates are good for you:
- Playdates give you a chance to reconnect with the non-mom side of you.Sure, you’re there with other moms and other children, but this is your chance to chat about non-mom topics and flex those non-mom brain muscles. Whether talking about politics, finance issues, work, or the latest best selling novel, you can give your brain a workout by engaging in conversations that don’t involve diapers and sleep schedules.
- Think of playdates as Parenting 101 crowd sourcing. While they are a great chance to talk about non-mon issues, playdates are also the place to get some answers from those who have been there, done that. Got a child with night terrors? Can’t get your child to eat anything other than cereal? Chances are, another mom in the group has gone through the same thing – and can offer up advice from experience.
- Playdates are a great chance for you to get some exercise.We all know how challenging it can be to fit in a work out when you are busy raising children. Planning playdates that involve stroller walks or jogs, family-friendly hikes, and fun activities like roller skating or riding bikes can give you a chance to catch up with other moms while also getting some exercise, which can help you feel better and more prepared to take on the rest of the day.
- Playdates can offer much-needed pats on the back.You work hard as a mom, and at the end of each day, you don’t get a medal. But playdates can offer you reassurance that you are, in fact, doing a great job, mom! Mothers have no greater cheerleaders than other mothers, and as much as we may selflessly love our children and do whatever it takes to raise them well, it’s still nice to have the support and encouragement from fellow moms that we are not the parenting failures we sometimes see ourselves as being.
- Playdates get you out of the house.Sometimes, especially in those early days with an infant, it can be a challenge to take two steps outside of your front door. As moms, I bet most of you have had those days where suddenly you look up and the sun is already setting, but you are still in your pajamas. Scheduling playdates gives you a reason to get dressed and get out of the house, and once you are out of the house, it’s much easier to then stay out and run errands or attempt other fun adventures with your little one.
- Playdates can help you de-stress.In addition to a chance to exercise, catch up with other adults, and workout your brain, playdates can help bring your stress level down. Motherhood can be a very stressful time, and bonding with other moms gives you a chance to alleviate some of that stress in a safe, supportive environment.
Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., is a nationally recognized family and child development expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to dif cult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times and USA Today. ABC, CBS and KHOU, Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Dr. Gross’ soon-to-be second book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, teaches parents how to enhance a child’s learning potential through various developmental stages. Two additional books are slated to follow, including The Only Way Out Is Through, a Jungian approach to navigating life’s transitions including grieving, and De ning Moments, which recounts the de ning moments of celebrity guests as shared with Dr. Gross during interviews on PBS’ “Let’s Talk.” www.drgailgross.com