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Dropoff Dos and Don'ts

Is your child ready for a playdate at a pal's house -- without you there? Some tips from psychotherapist Tammy Gold, of Gold Parent Coaching:

Go for it if...

  • Your child usually doesn't cling or cry when you drop her at daycare or leave her with a sitter.
  • She's good at sharing her own toys or lending and borrowing gear at the sandbox.

Wait a while longer if...

  • Her teacher or daycare provider says she can get bossy or withdrawn in a group (ask her) or tends to use her fists, not her words, when she's mad. A playdate's a smaller group dynamic, but it can be even more stressful.

Start off right by...

  • Explaining that you won't be at the playdate.
  • Making the first playdate short -- about an hour.
  • Giving your child a sticker to wear as a memento from home. (Give her one for her friend, too, to break the ice.)