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How to Survive Playdate Meltdowns

*When I recorded this video live on Instagram my wifi connection was totally wonky... so there's no video to go with this post. Sorry!

Have you ever felt completely embarrassed by your child's behavior when it's time to say goodbye at the end of a playdate?

I think we've all been there, at least once or twice:

The kids had a great time playing together. They might even be a little tired from all the excitement.

And then you have to peel your unhappy child away from their friend and hope that the scene doesn't derail any potential invitations in the future.

I was actually on the other side of this scenario one day after a neighbor brought her son to come to play at our house.

The boys had a blast knocking over dinosaurs and reading creepy bug books together, but when it was time to go, sh!t hit the fan.

Andrew started crying and screaming, and he did not care one bit that I thought the "polite" thing to do was to say goodbye and thanks for playing.

Fortunately, our neighbor fully understands that one upset isn't the end of the world, and she didn't take it personally that Andrew shut himself in his room and refused to bid them farewell.

This helped me with tip #1 to handle playdate meltdowns:

Release expectations that your child be pleasant, cordial, or respectful when ending a playdate.

Your child will be able to do that someday, and if today it doesn’t happen, let that be ok. It's not a reflection on them, on you, on the friendship, or on anything else.

If your child is melting down, it's simply their body's reaction to the environment.

In order to help your child develop the skills to handle playdates, use tip #2:

Aim to simply be with your child.

No talking.

No distracting.

No explaining or rationalizing.

Just be in the presence of your child while they cry and scream. It won’t last forever.

Here’s the tough part: your tolerance for your child’s meltdown could be tiny.

Maybe you can handle only 30 seconds before you want to jump out of your skin.

I’ve got you.

If being present for your child's big emotions is a goal, and you recognize that you just can’t handle them right now, be gentle with yourself.

We can work together to build your tolerance for those big feelings, just like building any other skill in life.

I recommend using my #1 Tool for Moms to Keep Cool and start noticing when you reach your tipping point.

When you equip yourself to handle your own big emotions, you become a role model for your child, too.

Has your child had big playdate meltdowns? Was it when they visited and had to leave, or was it when they hosted and had to say goodbye?

Leave a comment below if you feel just a little more prepared to go with the flow and not worry about what anyone else says or thinks about your child's big feelings.

💜 Allyn


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Ways to work with me:

Stress Buster Series Online Course

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I'm Allyn

Wife, mom, and parent coach

Thanks for stopping by to check out this post.


I'm on a mission to show you how to thrive in the toddler years and beyond, with less fighting and more fun.


Use any of the links below the post to connect with me and learn about my Pause~Presence~Play parenting method. 

I'm here to help you be the parent you want to be, on your terms.

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