When it comes to parenting, everyone does it differently, and everyone (even those without children) have an opinion. So when you are looking at advice to take, there is some that are more valuable than others. A pediatrician is pretty high up on the list of people whose advice might be worth listening to! Here are the questions that they ask before their kids go on playdates.
How has everyone’s health been lately?
Although this is a polite question to inquire about, it’s also useful to know whether anyone in the household has been sick, had a fever, or anything else contagious in the past few weeks. This is especially important to know if your child is too young to have had all their immunizations yet, or if the family are anti-vaccination themselves.
Do you have pets?
Whether your child is used to being around animals or not, it is always a good idea to check the situation at someone else’s house. Ask whether the pet is child-friendly and if your children are uncomfortable around certain animals, be sure to mention that to the parents so that they can be prepared and your child doesn’t have to make that announcement themselves.
Are there media restrictions in your home?
We all have stories of sleepovers where we ended up watching a movie that was far too scary or mature for our age. In a world where the internet is readily available, there is even more of a risk of your child seeing something they shouldn’t. If you aren’t comfortable with your child playing certain video games, or watching PG-13 movies, for example, it would be good to mention this.
Is there a pool?
No, this isn’t a question about whether the kids will enjoy a paddle during the playdate, but more about the safety aspect. 1 in 5 people who die from drowning are under 14 years old, and this can happen whether the pool is part of the plan for the playdate or not. You need to know how accessible the pool is, what safety measures are in place, and if the pool is going to be involved in the plans, that the parents or other trustworthy adults will remain by the pool at all times.
Do you have guns in the home?
This is an essential one, and if the answer is ‘yes,’ you are likely to have follow-up questions, such as where it is stored, if it is locked away and if it is loaded. Children and guns can be a fatal mix, so it is better to ask the question and know the situation before allowing your child to spend time in the house.
You may find some of these questions a little much, but when it comes to the safety and happiness of your children, nothing is more important. If you do not feel comfortable about any aspect of a playdate, you should feel able to make changes. That doesn’t mean not allowing your children to play together but perhaps hosting at your house or somewhere different entirely.