9 Things to Ask Before You Send Your Child on a Play Date

Mom Moment 76

legosI remember when my son was finally old enough to go on "drop-off" play dates. I just walked him over to his friend's house, handed him over to another family for the afternoon ... and then tried not to worry! When you think about it, there's a lot of trust involved in a play date.

You want your kids to have fun on their play dates. And no one wants to be "that mom" -- the one who gets all neurotic and asks if all the snacks will be organic. But now that your kids are making new friends at school away from you, a few questions are totally reasonable to ask. (Even when you think you know the other mom.)

1. What are the kids going to be doing? Will they be playing with toys (Legos, dolls), watching TV, running around outside, playing video games?

2. Do you have a trampoline, swimming pool, or any other things that are potentially unsafe? (We used to have a trampoline, and the whole neighborhood would come over. But also, my brother broke his elbow on the thing, so ...)

3. Which adults will be home with the kids? Is it the parents, older siblings, a grandparent, a sitter? You will want to be introduced to anyone supervising the kids. Make sure you have everyone's contact info and that they have yours.

4. Any snacks planned? If you have a child with allergies, this question is going to be a no-brainer for you. But parents also may want to limit sugar, or avoid too much snacking before dinner. It's fair to ask.

5. Do you have any guns in your home? If so, where are they kept? I mean ... you kind of want to know. It doesn't have to turn into a debate, but accidents have happened with unlocked weapons.

6. Do you have any pets? Maybe your kids have allergies. Or maybe the family has a big, scary pit bull straining its chain in the backyard.

7. Are you going anywhere? If the play date includes being driven places, you'll want to offer to bring over an extra child seat for you kid. Don't assume they have one.

8. Any special rules I should know about? Different families have different rules, and you want to make sure your child will be able to mind the family's rules within reason.

9. How do you handle disagreements? This is a delicate way of asking how they discipline kids. Are they going to put your kid in a time-out -- or would they actually spank your kid? Are you okay with that?

What this all comes down to is a conversation where you just get to know the other family a little better. They should feel free to ask you questions about your family, too. Hopefully you'll be inviting their kid over to your place at some point. I feel like it's less about policing another family (so not okay!) or imposing your rules on them -- and more about making sure your child will feel safe and comfortable there.

What do you like to know about another family when you send your child over for a play date?


Image via Acutance/Flickr

kid activities, friends, safety


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tuffy... tuffymama

I never sent my oldest alone on a play date. That may sound weird, but he played with my friends' kids. When they socialized, we socialized. Now, I babysat for my friends and ODS had a lot of sleepovers when he was younger, but most of my friends drank and went out a lot more often than I did. Maybe that's why? Also, unlike my mom, I've never felt the need to "get rid of" my kids.

Venae Venae

Is anyone at the home a sex offender?  Is the man of the house your husband or your latest baby daddy?  Do you allow the kids to roam the neighborhood or are they supposed to stay at your house - since it's a play date at your house. 

JS0512 JS0512

Venae, your second question? Really? What the hell is the purpose of asking that? Also, do you really think someone will say "yes" when asked if a sex offender lives in the home?

Logan... LoganTroyMom

thanks for spreading misinformation about pit bulls! we certainly needed more people to misrepresent them as vicious, child attacking monsters!

2baby... 2babymomma

I think the baby daddy comment is valid I mean how well can you really know a man if all you do is pop out a kids and move on to the next guy

LuvMy... LuvMyDandD

@JS0512, I agree! @Venae, maybe that second question would come across nosey. The mother may decide you are too judgemental to deal with, and even I would be offended though I could answer with "my husband of 12 years and father of all of my children". Good Lord, your child would have no friends if they can only play at married peoples houses! Please don't pass your personality traits to your poor child, they will only have a harder lonely life!

LuvMy... LuvMyDandD

@2babymomma, not every mom is a whore. There are married people and full-blooded siblings in the world...

2baby... 2babymomma

I do realize that my own children are full blood siblings i'm just saying in the fact that if you don't really know the guy how well can I trust him with my child. I think that might have been the point of the original commenter.

nonmember avatar Lilia

The pit bull comment is ridiculous. My 2 year old son has never been bitten by our pit bull. Our pit bull has never bitten a human being. My son has only ever been bitten by chihuahuas and clawed by people's cats.

Samantha Reason-Harner

What about my scared as crap doberman who looks scary but is a pansy....My big one is can you and how would you  handle a meltdown if one was to happen.


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