Summer is nearing its end, and we are getting our kids ready for back to school. So, we asked our mom friends if they had any questions or concerns about their children’s safety. We chose a few of the top concerns to address here (see link to part I below):
My son is starting Kindergarten and we are leaving the comfort of the preschool where I knew all the parents. What do I do when a kid I don’t know wants to have a play date with my child? I am not comfortable letting my child go to a house where I don’t know the family.
Your Kid’s Safety Comes First
This was a tough one for us when our children went to elementary school. We would NEVER send our children to a house if we did not know the family and had not been to the house ourselves. With that said, even if you know the family, there are still some safety questions you have the RIGHT to ask. The safety of your child should always come FIRST, not the concern of offending or hurting the feelings of the parents of your child’s friend.
Get to Know the Parent
Let the interested parent know up front how excited you are that the kids are friends and you would like to have play dates. Let them know that you feel it is important for the adults to get to know each other as well. Tell them you are not comfortable with your child going to someone’s house you don’t know. Within the same breath, suggest you meet at a park and get to know each other (also great way to observe how the kids play in an unstructured environment). You can invite the parent with their child to your home for the play date and coffee for the adults. You can also go with your child on the play date. This is a great way to make a new friend yourself. We have always been so surprised by the parents that allowed their children to come to our houses when they didn’t know us at all (even if we are the KidSafe Moms). Remember you are the first line of defense in your child’s safety- always keep that in the forefront of your mind.
What If You Do Know the Parent?
Even if you know the parents, there are still some good questions that you should ask:
1) Will you be home the whole time? If not, who will be watching the kids? Personally, we have turned down play dates because we were not comfortable with a nanny or teenage sibling watching them.
2) Do you own a gun? Half of Americans have a gun in their home. Ask if it is locked up and secure from the kids. There are just too many accidental deaths from kids randomly finding a gun. 3) Do you let the children play in the parent’s bedroom? We suggest parents bedrooms be off limits to play dates. It is often the place where guns are hidden and perhaps other inappropriate items for children. 4) Does your child have any allergies? This is need to know information.
Trust Your Instincts and Come Up With a Plan of Action
At the end of the day, you need to trust your instincts as a parent and communicate with your child. We recommend that you sit down as a family and have a discussion about back to school safety. Discuss your child’s concerns and come up with a plan of action that works for your family.
Back To School Safety Tips — Part I