Blog, Parenting, Relationships

The Ultimate Guide To Successful PlayDates

Today’s Topic & What You’ll Learn

  • What is a PlayDate
  • Benefits of PlayDates
  • Steps to improve your PlayDates with an opportunity to become a Pro
  • My Ultimate Trick to making PlayDates easier
  • Getting in those last minute PlayDates
  • Finding time to schedule a PlayDate even if you feel you have no time left

Mama Robbins

The wonderful world of PlayDates! Google says, “A date and time set by parents for their children to play together”. If you are a parent, I’m fairly confident you have had one. Unless your baby is too young. In my opinion, PlayDates can go one of THREE ways. They will either go horribly wrong and you regret leaving the house, mediocre as you expected and at least you got out, or super fantastic beyond anything you expected and can’t wait to do it again!

If you have never done a play date or just starting out, you may be on the fence about the whole idea. If you have had a few and plan them once every few weeks, you may be excited to get out, but the hassle just doesn’t seem worth it. But what if you could become a pro and start having them multiple times per week without losing your mind? I know…you are probably thinking I’m crazy. But I can tell you from personal experience, knowing how to properly plan your PlayDates can make or break you wanting to do them.

Sometimes I feel we envision PlayDates where the kids all get together at a park, the adults sit together on the bench drinking their coffee under a shaded tree on a sunny day, and you get to watch your kids play while you have lovely conversations with the other parents. MERRRR……WRONG! PlayDates can be almost anything. As long as the kids are together and playing. It’s a PlayDate!

Benefits Of PlayDates

  • Your kids can become more socially equipt
  • It can keep them occupied while you have time to yourself or time with others
  • Getting out can be an incentive and the phrase “I’m Bored” could diminish
  • Gets them moving (aka Exercise)
  • You may finally have some time to socialize with people that are not our small humans.

I guess that can be a win-win for all, right???!! But what if we are working moms that go to work all day, have the ability to talk to adults, and no time in the evenings and weekend because you have too much to get done? Well…I’m going to cover that too! So, let’s get started!

Steps To Improve Your PlayDates!

  • Get A Planner – I know this sounds weird for PlayDates, but this is key. If you don’t have a way to remember the dates and times, you will have some really disappointed children. How it is they can’t seem to remember where they left their shoe..by the way, that should be at the front door!!!!…but they can remember a PlayDate scheduled three weeks away without writing it down!!????? When I mention a “planner” this can be hardcopy (my fav) or your phone. A phone is more practical these days as you can set intentional reminders. (Love this too)
  • Plan A Month In Advance – I am a HUGE planner. I like things to be marked in my calendar at least 2 weeks in advance. Why? Because I have three kids, school activities, after-school swim lessons, chores, supper, Blogging, etc. I’m sure you know the drill. The last thing I want is to be asked for a PlayDate and I have to say No as I have no time slots left. So….at the beginning of a month, I will sit down and I literally start texting the parents asking if they’d be interested in a PlayDate.
  • Schedule In The DatesAs soon as the text come back “Yes” for PlayDates, SET THE DATE and TIME. This is extremely important. When we leave plans for, “oh I’ll call you next week”….”I’ll get back to you”…they tend to fall off the radar because we are super busy. So when you get the confirmation, start putting in the details right away.
  • Do Child Swaps & Optimize Time – I’m sure a lot of you already do this, but for those of you who don’t, this is amazing. It’s basically FREE CHILDCARE! If you know you do groceries every Wednesday around 3 to 4…not that many parents are that schedule and on time….but try to plan a PlayDate at “that” child’s house during those hours! SCORE…Not only will you be able to get your groceries done without a child-in-tow, they will be having a great time with their friends and save you money on the way past the “check-out” catchers. (Those are the isles on either side of you when you get to the till…filled with goodies your kids can’t seem to not ask for – unless it’s dental floss, leg raisers, Q-Tips, etc – then they don’t seem to think about it) Maybe you noticed every Saturday afternoon you start to feel worn out and wish you could have a well-needed nap. Guess what??!! Schedule a PlayDate!!! The opportunities are literally endless!
  • Avoid Scheduling Around NapTime – For the younger kids….this is like the advice you receive to never go shopping on an empty stomach…seriously..don’t do this…but if you schedule too close to a nap, you will either end up with a cranky, screaming child close to the end of the PlayDate wishing you hadn’t gone at all, or need to leave early because bad behaviours start to get more prominent around this time. Make sure they are well-rested and plan to be back well enough in time to get them down for their scheduled sleep. On the other side of things…if you have an older child no longer taking naps, make sure you don’t plan a PlayDate right after a vacation, or anything that completely threw off their schedule. This can upset things and make it much more difficult for you.
  • Child Having Bad Day, Go Anyways – This may seem really odd, but when your child is having a bad day from the moment they woke up, it’s usually due to lack of sleep. For some reason, this starts a wonderful domino effect of misbehaviours, back-talking, tantrums, crying. You name it, it seems to happen. But getting them OUT OF THE HOUSE can actually be a perfect cure. However, make sure they understand any “extreme behaviours” will have the consequence of leaving immediately. Not to mention, when your child has been giving you the run around all morning, the last thing you want to do it keep being around them. This will give you and them a well-needed separation break to recoup. Note: If your child has been acting up, you may not want to send them to the friend’s house alone. For this time, you may want to accompany them.
  • Always Bring Snacks – It doesn’t matter if you JUST ATE, bring snacks! Kids are bottomless pits. I can’t tell you how many times we just got in the car to leave for a PlayDate and I hear, “Mom…..I’m hungry!” WHAT?? Plus, you never know if a PlayDate goes super great and you stay longer, you will be better prepared.
  • Limit Technology Use – Okay…by now you should know I am a HUGE advocate for limiting tech around you and your family. A PlayDate is not having kids over, going to someone’s house, park, wherever and them pulling out the tablets, iPhones, laptops, Nintendo Switch, etc. PlayDates are meant to “socialize”. If it’s a sleepover and there is a movie, of course, that is okay. I’m also not saying no devices at all either. What I’m saying is limit the use. Is the game something that is interactive and the whole family can play too? Then that is a GREAT idea. Is it something where other kids just watch? Probably best to save that for later. Try to keep the focus on the “Play” part. If it’s questionable and you are not sure….pass.

My Top Secret Trick To Successful PlayDates…

  • Families With Multiple Kids – When you have more than one child and there is an age gap, it can sometimes be difficult for them to all play together. How many times do you hear, “MOM, she isn’t including me!” or “MOM, they’re being mean to me!” This can drive any parent crazy. So…I especially look for other families that have kids both around 5 and 7 years of age. As great as the Child Swap is, sometimes it only works for one child, leaving the other child alone or feeling unwanted. I found this to be a horrible feeling for both myself and for my child left out. My oldest daughter has a few friends in her class and my youngest daughter has a few friends in her class… both of whom are siblings. We have four families in the area that meet this criteria. When it comes time to schedule the “PlayDate”, I contact the parents, follow all the tips from above, and BAM. The kids come over, the two oldest play together…the two youngest play together and EVERYONE is happy…..well…99% of the time.

Last-Minute Scheduling

So we have covered a variety of ways to schedule your PlayDates in advance. This is to help them run more smoothly. But what about the 5pm call after school asking if your kids could have a PlayDate? (This happens to me all the time) Well…from my past experience, usually this is requested of my older children. But here are a few rules you may want your kids to follow:

  • Do what is easiest for you! If I have kids asking to come over..even for 20 minutes before supper…I know it gives me more focus on making supper. If I have kids asking to come over during supper..obviously that is a no.
  • Make sure your EXPECTATIONS are crystal clear. Setting boundaries where they can play is a great one
  • Clean up is mandatory before other kids can leave. Ask them to start putting things away at least 15 minutes before they should be picked up. We all know cleaning becomes play, to being told to clean…again!

On the go PlayDates “can” be chaotic, but depending on the age of your child(ren) it can be a blessing in disguise!

I Have No Time For PlayDates…

The secret to getting PlayDates in when you are working more relies on your ability to trust other parents with your kids. If you have trust issues…this idea may not be for you. However, if you have built great relationships with these parents, this may be a slam dunk. What is it?

I feel a lot of our kids make at least ONE really great friend in school. THAT is the family you can schedule the PlayDate with. When I feel confident and have built a relationship with the parents….may that be over FB Chat, Texting, etc….I will sometimes allow those parents to pick my child up from school and bring them back to their house. (I fully admit I will physically go “check out” their house and meet the parent first) If I’m concerned with the other parents driving…after work I would pick up my child(ren) and bring them to their house and just “drop-off”. While my child(ren) are playing, I go home and take care of other needed errands. Need I mention I usually get even MORE done because now I have less distraction at home. Friday night weekend sleepovers are the best for this. No need to plan supper that evening if no kids at home, I know they will be taken care of for at least 12 hours, and I can focus on other things so when I have my kids back I can FOCUS ON THEM. Not the million other things I need to take care of.

Summary For PlayDate…

  • Get a planner
  • Try to plan a month in advance
  • Schedule the DATE and TIME as soon as a “yes” has been confirmed
  • Do child swap & optimize your time
  • Avoid scheduling around nap time or coming back from vacations
  • Child having bad day – go anyways
  • Always bring snacks
  • Limit tech usage
  • Try to find families with multiple children the age of yours (this only really applies if you have more than one child)

Obviously, every family dynamic is different. I’m not saying these tips will work for you, but I have had a LOT of PlayDates with all THREE of my kids, and these tricks have been almost flawless every time!

Questions For You

  1. Is there any PlayDate tricks or tips that work well for your family?
  2. What do you feel is the main reason PlayDates doesn’t end well?
  3. Do you have a plan when you do PlayDates or do you leave it all to chance?

Let me know in the comments below about your PlayDates! I’d love to hear what you do, where you go, how YOU feel about them. I also hope you are able to take a few tips from here, implement them into your PlayDates and see immediate results!

Until Next Time – Follow Me: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube & remember to Subscribe to receive my Future Posts! If you would like to leave a comment, please scroll to the very bottom of this page.

Sincerely,

Mama Robbins

Blog, Diary

Why I’ve Been M.I.A.

3 min read

Today’s Topic & What You’ll Learn

  • Why I haven’t been posting much…on literally anything
  • What my plans are due to time commitments
  • New Journey, I’m starting August/September you can follow me on!

Mama Robbins

Over the last few months, things in my world went from having a few spare moments here and there to having practically nothing. Why?

After having Baby Rylan, my husband stayed home with me for 5 whole months! He’s friggen amazing for doing so. This allowed me a little time each day to Blog, or do whatever I needed. Now that he was back at work and Baby Rylan had decided he can only nap when he is physically on me, it left me with no time whatsoever to do a darn thing! To top it off, we are in the middle of a move to a townhome, so between taking care of Rylan all day, my other two daughters come evening and packing…..well, I’m sure you get the picture.

So, for the last few months, I haven’t been updating my blog, other than my one amazing post on Ell’s Pinterest eCourse, reading, adding to my Twitter feed, Instagram, nadda. Talk about a hit to my stats!

Anywho, I wanted to fill you guys in quickly on what has been kinda going on in my world so you know this isn’t a permanent thing. Gosh, Blogging is a lifeline for me! I honestly can’t imagine my life without it anymore!

What’s My Plan?

I’m to go back to work from my Parental Leave around November. I honestly am not sure how this will affect everything I am doing now. Over the last week I have finally managed to get Rylan to sleep without being on me, hence this update. But going forward … what I want to do and what I am able to do I feel are two completely different things.

Here Are A Few Things…

  • Write a new Blog post once a month
  • Post a new Vlog once a month
  • Keep up with a Blog Review every week or every two weeks
  • Manage my Social Media Accounts at least once a week
  • Get back into shape! I’m a “Frumpy Mommy” at the moment.

I don’t feel this list is unreasonable. It’s just managing to find the time. Either way, it’s all about Priorities right?…..yeah..ok…

So there you have it, why I’ve been M.I.A. for the last few months. I miss all of you so much. Being able to provide content that fills your free time between stressful workdays, keeping you occupied with your loved one is sleeping beside you, or between hectic times while you deal with the kiddos!

I shall be back soon!

In the meantime…follow my progress…

I have decided the month of August to September I want to get back into shape. So I will be joining a gym for 30 days. I will be posting my progress along with LIVE videos on my Facebook Page. In order to watch, you will need to look up “Mama Robbins Support Group” on Facebook and Request To Join! (For whatever reason unknown to me I am not able to post the link to the group here.) My live videos will explain the reason behind this decision, how I incorporate the gym and 3 kids, meal planning (which I suck at), how stresses affect our physical and mental health and more!

Until Next Time – Follow Me: YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram & remember to Subscribe! If you would like to leave a comment, please scroll to the very bottom of this page.

Sincerely,

Mama Robbins

Blog, Building Your Brand

The Ultimate Pinterest eCourse That Won’t Break Your Bank

What’s In It For You & What You’ll Learn

  • How to get your hands on the BEST eCourse out there that will finally teach you the “ins” and “outs” of Pinterest
  • Why this eCourse is so important
  • You will finally understand how to set up your account and it’s done right
  • You will know the ideal graphics you should be using that get better clicks, what applications to use to create them, and how!
  • You will understand the details that go into creating a Pin to ensure it’s getting pulled in the search options
  • You will be able to take advantage of auto-schedules apps to make your life so much easier and get back to creating the content that matters
  • You will see your monthly views increase and get the blog traffic you’ve been looking for
  • Be on the path to earning a paycheck for the work you put into your Blog

Mama Robbins

This post contains affiliate links, which means I will make a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase.

Overview Of How It Started

Here’s the thing. When I first started my website, I read somewhere that if you’re a Blogger, you should obtain a Pinterest account. Why? Because millions of people use it daily and it is a great opportunity for your Blog posts to be discovered… …. Okay….. That is great and all, but how in the world do I use it? Like everything out there comes a learning curve to new things. Pinterest was no exception.

Here I was thinking people just scrolled through random pictures and when they came across one that met their fancy, they click on the picture and that was it…….Sound like you too? Was I wrong! Pinterest, if you didn’t already know is like Google. Yes, it is actually a search engine. There is a search bar at the very top that allows you to search for anything specific you want. You want to know more about “Parenting”, you can type that in the search bar. If you want to learn how to have the best garden this year, you can type that in the search bar. The results are literally endless. But that still didn’t answer my question on HOW TO USE Pinterest and why it was such a big deal for Bloggers.

Doing My Research

So, I started doing a little digging. I Googled how to use Pinterest, watched some free videos, created an account and boom. I was officially on the platform. I created my profile, filled out some information and started clicking on other peoples posts and creating my boards. But something was wrong. This wasn’t drawing any traffic to my site. Then again, how could it? I had nothing linking to my site, nor did I have any idea how to.

Before Pictures Of My Account

To give you a little idea what my Pinterest Account looked like….here is my main heading shortly after I started.

As you can see, based on a few things I had read prior with the free courses I was able to incorporate a “proper name” for Pinterest and I did include what I talk about on my boards in my “description”. However, that still wasn’t increasing my traffic enough? Why…you may ask?

They say {Pictures are worth a thousand words}. This is for a reason. This is what my boards looked like in the beginning….

Here, you can see a variety of my Boards, but they have no real rhyme or reason as to how they are laid out, what should be seen first, and it looks unappealing. Looking back at this now…I remember thinking to myself, “My boards look pretty good!” Um…no…they really didn’t. Soo……

Back to the drawing board. I started to Google “How to Blog Post to Pinterest”. This gave me a few step-by-step instructions. I got my first few Pins up and waited….and waited…and waited. After two months with my Blog Pins being on Pinterest, I wasn’t getting many views. I only had 330 after TWO whole months! If you don’t already know this, that is an extremely low number. What was I doing wrong?

Ell’s eCourse Kept Calling Me

I kept hearing about this amazing Pinterest eCourse by Ell from Boss Girl Bloggers. Almost weekly I kept coming across other Bloggers posts referencing how fantastic her eCourse was, how it changed their lives, and it wasn’t expensive! I was already following Ell via Twitter, click HERE if you want to follow her too. I had no idea she had created her own course on the subject. I became very curious…..

The Hesitation

As a consumer, I feel we are built with this hesitation wall from investing in anything that takes money from our pockets. We work hard for that green. Plus, how can you truly trust anything on the internet these days? I know I kept hearing about it, I saw other peoples results using it, but would it really work for me….would I be able to follow her instructions….will it be worth the price? The questions are endless when you have that “wall” up for protection. But was it really protecting me?

Taking The Plunge

So I took the leap of faith and purchased Ell’s eCourse HERE. Guess what?! This was the best investment to date I’ve invested in Blogging! Why? Because I was able to get results in under 60 days, and I’m not talking small. I’m talking HUGE!

One thing I would like to point out is I would have achieved these results WAY quicker had I not procrastinated on making the necessary changes per her instructions. So YOU can ABSOLUTELY have these results in less time if you put the effort in.

I know…I know…some of you may be thinking, just like I did, but what proof do you have this actually works! Well, I was proactive and took before and after shots of my Pinterest account so I could prove to myself it works…or didn’t. Boy, am I ever glad I did!

After Pictures Of My Account

Here are the after pictures of my account after taking her course and waiting just 60 days to see my numbers change.

Yes, you can see that right! I went from 330 Monthly views to over 10,000 in UNDER 60 days!!! Say what????

What was the big difference? I’ll show you!…..

Doesn’t that look SO much better? With a few modifications, my account finally looks welcoming!

The Big Deal With Ell’s eCourse

As many of you have probably already seen. A lot of eCourses out there are advertised. I mean…ALL OVER the place. Facebook Ads, YouTube Ads, Instagram Feeds, you name it. As I wanted to learn more about Pinterest, I watched one of those, “Watch me so you can learn to succeed on Pinterest” Masterclass things that gets you to watch for an hour, sometimes two, to find out at the very end there comes a hefty price tag and that wasn’t even the “real deal”. Some of them wanted you to pay $1995.00! You want me to WHAT????? Um…..I’m into Blogging yes, I want it to be my life, but I’m not risking going broke in one shot for it though.

Then there is Ell’s eCourse. Her price is a simple $32 (US). That’s it! I was shocked! The best part, she shows you her results over a period of time from her principles she teaches in this course and they are dramatic! She even goes beyond and shows you actual testimonies of people who have taken it as well!

Extra Bonus

On top of everything that Ell does, she decided to start a website 100% dedicated to promoting Pinterest. This is a perfect opportunity for you to get to know Ell and the way she makes Pinterest work for her and for you! You can visit her website HERE.

What You’ll Learn – Curriculum

How To Set Up Your Pinterest Account

Learn how to properly set up your Pinterest account to your best advantage and how to create branding Pinterest graphics & more!

I was SO nieve and thought I knew what I was doing when I created my account. She teaches you the steps that make it easier for YOU so you don’t miss out on something important.

What Tailwind Is And How To Use It

An in-depth tutorial on how to properly use Tailwind to your BEST benefit to drive traffic to your blog and increase Pinterest views.

When I first started, I kept hearing about Tailwind and had NO idea what this was. This app was a godsend! It auto-schedules your Pinterest AND Instagram Accounts for you so you have more time to focus on what matters most! Writing content! Click HERE to sign up for a FREE trial with Tailwind. Thereafter, you can choose to keep it free or take advantage of a subscription. Plus! It’s actually affordable and SOOO worth it!

Grow Your Blog Traffic

Learn Pinterest strategies that will teach you how to grow your blog traffic with Pinterest. Plus, pinning techniques and perfecting Pinterest SEO.

I had no idea there was “small details” to make your Pins searchable with background information so they pull up when searched by keywords. Ell walks you through ALL of this!

$$$$ Make MONEY $$$$

Learn how you can also use Pinterest to MAKE MONEY and increase affiliate sales.

Who doesn’t want to make money with their writing??? I do! Though I haven’t yet….more the fact I have an infant and timing has been rough, but if you put forth Ell’s content guidelines and follow her steps there is NO reason your effort shouldn’t pay off.

What Are You Waiting For?

Just like I did, you probably have hesitations. I don’t blame you. But with Ell’s 30 Day Money Back Guarantee, what in the world could you possibly lose? One of the best feelings in the world is finally seeing your efforts paying off and getting results! So, take the plunge like I did, see it for yourself and feel in control of your blog, writing, Pinterest account and more! So click HERE and get started with Ell!

I hope you were able to take away something useful from this post. I know it was a game changer for me and I know it can be for you too!

Until Next Time – Follow Me: YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram & remember to Subscribe! If you would like to leave a comment, please scroll to the very bottom of this page.

Sincerely,

Mama Robbins