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Managing a play date for dads: The basics

Sure, you love spending time with your son – playing superman, tossing the little guy into the air and sharing a spoonful of peanut butter from the container are all in a good day's fun. But as he gets older, it's important that he socializes with other youngsters – and the etiquette of these play dates can be difficult for dads to navigate. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

1. Keep groups in even numbers. The old adage "three's a crowd" is especially important to remember when organizing play dates for little ones. One-on-one meet-ups are often the most successful. When another child comes into the fold, it's only natural that two of the kids may team up and leave the other one hanging.

2. Don't let adult politics force a play date. Encouraging your son to hang out with your boss' child, your best-friend's daughter or the newest neighbor's kids may not work out as well as you hope. If a fight breaks out among the kids, it could cause tension among the grown-ups.

3. Supervise. It's imperative that you keep tabs on your youngster and all of those under your charge. Similarly, if you're dropping your little guy off for a visit at his newest friend's house, make sure that he'll be carefully watched over. If you don't know the parents well, stay at the house with your son, or suggest that you all meet up at a public place, like the park.