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- Her teacher or daycare provider says she can get bossy or withdrawn in a group (ask her) or tends to use her fists, not her words, when she's mad.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.)