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Independent Playmates for Your School Age Child

Helping Your Child Manage Solo Playdates With Friends

Depending on how independent your child is, she might have played at a friend's house without you present since she was 4 years old. But by the time children enter kindergarten, almost all are ready for independent playdates.

Starting at around age 5, children become increasingly able to communicate their feelings and ideas, and they have a better understanding of time -- past, present, and future -- according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. All these abilities help your child manage a solo playdate; she'll remember the last time she played at Madison's house and knows you'll eventually pick her up.

School-age children also spend more time with friends than preschoolers, so it's natural that they'll feel more comfortable around their peers. Still, keep playdates a manageable length -- two to three hours. You want a playdate to end on a good note, before one of the playmates gets cranky, tired, or bored.

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