Letting your child go to someone else’s home for a playdate may make you nervous as a parent, but preparing them for it can help ease your mind. By the time your child is old enough for playdates, you want to believe you’ve raised them well to be kind, considerate, and respectful at other people’s homes. That feeling may not be enough for you as a parent so it’s important for you to feel confident when dropping them off at someone else’s home. Set up some ground rules for your children to follow when playing at other homes and they’ll be sure to get invited back again.
1. Be Respectful
Your child may be inclined to treat someone else’s home as their own so it’s important to let them know that other homes may have different rules. They should show respect to the parents, other children, and to the home in general. If there’s a rule about wearing shoes in the house or watching a limited amount of TV, they should respect those rules even if they aren’t applied in your own home. This is also a great learning opportunity for them to see what life is like at someone else’s house.
2. Clean Up Every Mess
When playing with other's toys, it’s important to treat them with care and help clean up when you’re done using them. When your child shows this level of care for others and their things, the parents and other children will want to invite them over more often to play. This will also teach the other children to reciprocate the same care back when they come to your home to play. Encourage them to treat other's toys how they would want their toys to be treated.
3. Listen to the Adults
Since the rules may be different at your home, it’s important to teach your little ones to listen to the adults. If the adult of the home asks them they need to come back inside the home or to not play in a certain room, they should do what has been asked of them. Your children shouldn’t talk back with an attitude to other adults so teach them common courtesy for when they are spoken to.
4. Do Not Play Rough
Sometimes children can get out of hand when playing around and it takes just one more push for the situation to take a major turn. Teach your child they shouldn’t engage in rough-playing and should never lay their hands on another person. This will keep your child and other children safe and minimize accidents. Let your child know that if another kid is trying to provoke him that they should go to the parents.
5. Share the Toys
Teaching children to share can be a hit or miss. Especially if you have an only child, sharing toys doesn’t seem fun for them. When at someone’s house, they should share toys and switch often if only one person can play with something at a time. You can even have your child bring a few toys over to the house to ensure that there are plenty of toys to play with. If you decide to bring toys from home, let the other parent know so they can come back home with them.
- If your child is old enough to have a phone, let them know that they can contact you if they ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable while at someone else’s home. There are certain phones you can get for your child that have just emergency phone numbers programmed in so they can quickly call you if they need to. Have your children memorize your phone number in case of an emergency.
- Teach your children about their bodies and appropriate physical interactions between kids and adults. Though this topic may seem unsettling as a parent, especially with young children, it is necessary for them to learn what is okay and not okay. You can teach them that handshakes are appropriate to do with other kids and adults but there are certain parts of their body that shouldn’t be touched by others. Being informed is the safest way to keep your child protected.
- Leave your phone number and two other emergency contacts for the parent of the other home. If they can’t reach you personally, they will be able to get in touch with someone else who is trusted with your children. Let the parent know where you’ll be and what time you plan on being back by.
- Write down any food allergies your child has and have a conversation with the other parent about the allergies before leaving your child there. The host parents should not serve food that your child is allergic to while they’re there to ensure safety. If your child has a severe allergy, make sure there is an EpiPen readily available for the adult to use.
Have confidence in your parenting skills when your children are fully equipped to play at someone’s home. Playdates are a great opportunity for your kid to socialize with people their own age and develop meaningful friendships. Consider dropping your child off with a Voyager Blanket to play comfortably on while indoors or outdoors.