Play dates! Love them or hate them, they are a great way to get your child to socialize with their friends. Now that our two oldest are in elementary school they are starting to invite friends over to the house.
Sometimes we know the parents, but there have been times where we have set up “blind dates” for the boys. (“Blind date”: The kids are friends in school, but we don’t know the parents very well.)
Before a play date, I have a quick list of questions I ask, every single time – as if my child’s life depended on it! (Because it does!)
I urge every mom out there to kindly, gently and openly share as much information as she can, either before the playdate, or at drop off.
Below is the list of hot button topics that I always address upfront, so the other kid’s mom doesn’t have to tip-toe around the subject. I love full disclosure. We have nothing to hide and I want to reassure a fellow mom that her child will be treated with love and respect in a safe environment.
[bctt tweet=”#PlayDateSafety! Ten questions you MUST ask! Your child’s life depends on it! #Kids #GunSafety”]
The 10 questions I answer before hosting a play date – without being asked:
- Are there any guns, knives, weapons or alcohol in the house?
- (This is ALWAYS the first information I disclose. It breaks the ice and calms the other mom instantly!)
- We don’t have any, but good follow-up information would be: How they are stored and who has access.
- What pets are in the house?
- We only have a friendly fish. However, letting the parents know about furry friends and their temperament is appropriate for kids with allergies and those who are fearful of dogs.
- Who lives in the home?
- I like to let new friends know that we have four boys, so they are prepared for a lively house.
- Who will watch the kids?
- I try to be home the entire time our kids have friends over.
- But if I have to run out, I have the parent meet my husband who will then be watching them.
- What time is drop off and pick up?
- Setting the expectation up front of the length of the playdate helps both parties plan the rest of their day.
- I find that 2-3 hours is sufficient.
- I do shorter play dates if the kids have never played together before, just in case it isn’t a match.
- What are the planned activities?
- No, I don’t plan out a play date ahead of time. It is up to the kids to decide what they want to do with their friends.
- However, I find it helpful to share the following:
- Which video games they may play.
- We do not have a pool.
- We do not have a trampoline.
- The backyard is fenced in.
And then I turn the table and ask the other parent a few questions. Even if I know the child, I never assume that I have the answers to these questions.
- Does their child have any medical conditions that I need to be aware of?
- It’s important to know if you need to administer medication or watch for any particular symptoms.
- Are there any dietary restrictions or allergies?
- Ask this even if the child isn’t staying for mealtime. Kids ALWAYS get hungry on play dates. There is something irresistible about eating snacks at your friend’s house. The food always tastes better. Trust me!
- How can I reach them while their child is at our house?
- I also make sure they have our contact information.
- Does she want to see our house/ the play area?
- My husband knows by now that I offer parents to come inside. Before each playdate, he is frantically vacuuming and picking up toys. It is tempting to schedule playdates just for the sake of getting a clean house!
And now to the FREE stuff… I am so excited to share this printable with you. It is appropriate for so many occasions, but it is especially fitting for playdates.
The Contact Card is fillable, which means you can type in your information directly on the card before printing it. Leaving one with your child’s playdate when you drop him off is a great way to start the conversation if she hasn’t already shared all the information I mentioned.
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