How I Get Ready For A Playdate At My Own Home

I’ve written about hosting a playdate at your home or helping your child go on a playdate at someone else’s home before, but I haven’t written about how a playdate goes at my own home. Here’s a play by play of what setting up and having a playdate looks like at my house.

A Playdate at My House by Encourage Play

One week before:

My kids have been begging me to have a playdate with a particular family for a while. Like for a month. We haven’t seen them since my daughter’s birthday party in January. I email the mom and cross my fingers that she’s available the next weekend. The last time we had a playdate it was back in December. She hosted and we made gingerbread houses, so I offered to host this time. A few hours later, I hear back. Her kids have been begging for a playdate too. We’re on!

Wednesday day:

I look around the downstairs floor of my house and I realize it’s a HOT mess. I probably need to do a little cleaning so the kids actually have clear spaces to play on. However, I’ve had this mom to my house a few times before so I don’t feel like it needs to be spotless. Every time she comes over, I can show a little bit more of how we live when we’re not having company over, so I don’t go as crazy cleaning in prep for the playdate. But I still also don’t want to look like a slob.

Wednesday night:

My son gets sick! He usually recovers from these things quickly, so I don’t mention anything about cancelling yet.


My son spends the day sleeping on me, so I don’t do much of anything except order groceries. I get my groceries online, so I tried to remember to get some extra snacks for the playdate. Of course, I forgot things, so we’ll just run out later to do that.

I looked in my daughter’s room and noticed that her floor is covered in toys, clothes and papers. I tell her that if she wants her friend to come up and play in her room, she needs to clean it. She immediately gets started :-)


My son is still sick, so I spend time relaxing with him and then I head to work until evening. Absolutely no cleaning gets done.


I vacuumed the living room because it was so nasty, I couldn’t wait until Sunday. It was Family Movie Night, and the kids typically sit on the floor. It was just disgusting. One less thing to do tomorrow morning!

The mom confirms with me via email and sends me her new number. I let her know we’re still on, and that my son was sick but he’s recovered now. The kids are getting excited. Less than 24 hours to go.



The kids keep asking when the playdate will start. I let them know it’s hours away - they want me to set a timer so they have an idea. I ask the kids if there is any toy or game they want to put away, they both say no. I also ask if there’s anything they specifically want to play with, my son asks if I can bring up the gears.


The kids help a little with folding laundry and clean up. I vacuum the rest of the first floor so there isn’t visible dirt and crumbs on the ground. I also clean the bathrooms. I clear off the dining room and coffee table. I decide to put towels on the kids chairs in the kitchen because they look so stained and gross, and I don’t want anyone’s clothes to get dirty.


My daughter is in a bad mood, not sure why - perhaps because I made her fold her own laundry. She needs some time and space in her room to think. Hopefully her attitude changes before the playdate begins.


My son says he doesn’t want the gears. He wants to put up the play tent instead, which we do. I set out a couple of games on the coffee table. My daughter’s mood has improved as we sit down to a quick lunch before the fun begins.


The mom calls, she took a wrong turn (everything looks different in the snow) and she’ll be there in a few minutes.


A joyous reunion!! Everyone is so happy to see each other. My husband comes downstairs to say hello then goes back upstairs to get some work done. He and I agreed he would keep an ear out upstairs for any problems, and the mom and I would manage downstairs.

The boys immediately get into the play tent for a few minutes, while the girls go upstairs. After a few minutes, the boys go upstairs too. The mom and I go into the kitchen and sit at the table. A little later, there’s some commotion upstairs, but my awesome husband manages it. The mom and I talk for a while, about vacation plans, wine, life before kids, school and online grocery shopping. We even talk about the clean state of my house. We get along really well, and our kids are so similar, it’s striking.

Play tent set up for a playdate by encourage play


My daughter asks for snacks. I set out pretzels, wheat thins and grapes and the kids eat it all up. All four kids play together for a bit, then they separate out again. There’s another issue on the stairs, again my husband manages it.


The kids are mostly playing downstairs now. The mom knows she has to go grocery shopping, so she tells her kids they will be leaving at 3pm. I hear someone playing hungry hungry hippos for about a minute then they move on.


We tell the kids that it’s almost time for the playdate to be over. Insert groans and whines here.


After a couple of bathroom trips, the other family is heading out. We make tentative plans to maybe go sledding next weekend at a park near their house if the snow is still here.

The toys I set out were played with a total of maybe 5 minutes. The kids did their own thing, and had a fun time doing it. For the most part, they didn’t need help with the activities they chose (except when my daughter attempted a duct tape rose). There weren’t any major arguments either. And my house looks the cleanest it has in weeks, bonus!! I recognize it won’t last, but I just want to enjoy it right now.

In a few weeks, my plan is to reach out to another family in my son’s preschool class and arrange a first playdate for my son. That playdate will look a little different since I don’t know the family and I plan on having more activities set up just in case and keeping a closer eye on how things go. I plan to write about that as well!

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