Scheduling your first baby playdate? Well, Mama, you might want to prepare for a bit of a slow burn.
In today’s swipe left or right society, we are too ingrained to think chemistry has to be immediate and view the lack of instant oh-my-god bonding as a sign of friendship failure. But it’s just not that way in the brains of babies. In fact, even if the two infants really like each other, it could be years (or more) before little ones develop the ability to play together like the best of friends.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t schedule playdates for infants, quite the opposite is true. Side-by-side social play (we in the biz call this “parallel play”) is tooooootally normal. Especially around the three-to-four month mark—a.k.a. the time when your baby is ready for you to start lining up the playdates left and right.
Infant social interaction, in general, is a curious thing. It’s good for your child’s development to be exposed to a slowly growing world around them. It is a big-time added plus if that world has some recurring faces their own age. These playdates are especially valuable if your child isn’t meeting a larger group through daycare or regular playgroups.
Playdates are an important and necessary part of your baby’s development. Being close to another child their age allows them to observe and model behavior they might not otherwise encounter. This can be very helpful in terms of their development.
Babies are super sponges, soaking up everything they can about their surroundings. Maybe it’s their new friend using a word they haven’t learned yet. Or perhaps their friend is using the blocks in a way that they’ve never tried before! Seeing their friend do something will help them feel like they can do it, too.
And of course, playdates are also about learning to share. As us mamas know, this is a super hard concept for little ones to grasp. Sharing personal space and sharing toys are two concepts that will take them some time to master.
So make those playdates. And take heart! Even though it might just be you and the other parent chit-chatting, that doesn’t mean your child isn’t benefitting. Enjoy your human interaction and don’t worry too much about your babe’s solo play. Honestly, during this stage, you might need social time more than your child does.