Prepare ahead of time. “Avoid fights and meltdowns by scheduling play-dates at times when toddlers are likely to be in a good mood, such as the morning or the late afternoon.” Double-check your childproofing around the house, to make sure it’s appropriate to the age of your little guest.
Keep it short. Young children “don’t need marathon play-dates.” Expect 2- or 3-year-olds to last little more than an hour before they “get bored and cranky.”
Go over house rules. You can prevent fights and encourage safety with a few warnings given in advance. Just keep it short. “The longer you lecture, the more they’ll forget.”
Turn off the TV and computer. But feel free to watch a DVD together during “wind down” time after the visit.