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Playdates for Tweens?

by YPI Editors | October 24th, 2022 | Social, Tweens

girls-whisperingFirst of all, we need to start with a quick parenting update- your tween will not want to use the word playdate. Playdates are for little kids. However, don’t let terminology confuse you. Your tween very much wants to hang with friends. She just doesn’t want you to call it a playdate.

As much as they were in the elementary years, playdates/afternoons spent with friends are crucial in the tween years. This gives your tween time to express himself in the comfort and privacy of a close friend or two. The way the time is spent may be different, but it is just as valuable.

How your tween interacts during an afternoon with a friend may be very different than how she normally acts. I clearly remember being eleven and hanging out at a friend’s house. We wanted to play Barbies, but we swore each other to privacy. We feared that our friends would tease us for playing such a childish game. In the confines of her house we could return to a younger form of play, and it was okay.

Having time with a similarly minded friend gives your tween a chance to partake in activities that interest the two of them. Maybe your son and his friend enjoy a certain video game or sport that their other friends don’t. Maybe he’s been friends with the same kid since they were little; they may even indulge in a game of make believe from long ago. Whatever they do, this time together outside of structured activities gives them time to act as they want.

Another function of these afternoon get-togethers is the ability to talk privately. On the verge of the teen years, your daughter may want to chat or gossip with her friend without other tweens or parents around. Whether it’s discussing who the cutest member of the boy band is, talking about which teacher is sooo mean, or questioning developmental changes, this time without other ears is appreciated. Think back to your tween years; didn’t you look forward to time alone with friends?

As your child navigates the tween years, make sure you leave time for him to be with friends. Yes, sports and all of his other activities are important, but so is some downtime with friends. Help him keep a schedule that allows for free time. He may not realize it, but that time will be appreciated.

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