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What Questions Should I Ask Before My Child Goes on a Playdate?

As your child grows and starts to talk, walk, and attend daycare and school they are going to begin to learn social behaviors. With socializing, you are going to enter the world of playdates! Playdates provide a great opportunity for children to build friendships and develop essential social skills. Additionally, visiting another family’s home introduces your child to a new environment.

However, there are certain things you may want to consider before setting up a playdate, especially if you have never been to the other family’s home before. It can be beneficial to discuss household habits, rules, and expectations with the other parent. This is also a good time to share important information about your child, such as food allergies, pet allergies, or other health concerns. 

Here are 5 questions that can help you understand the environment your child will be entering:

  1. Who will be at home with the children? 
    1. Not only should you clarify who will be directly responsible for the children, it is also a good idea to explore who else will be in the home like siblings, extended family, etc. 
  2. Do they have a swimming pool, trampoline, or other play equipment?
    1. While these can be fun and exciting for children to use, they should also be supervised with extra care, especially if your child is not used to playing on these. 
    2. From healthychildren.org, “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends pools be surrounded by a 4-foot high, 4-sided fence with a self-latching gate, so that kids can’t easily enter without supervision. If swimming is planned, ask who will supervise. Whenever children under age 5 are in or around water, an adult―preferably one who knows how to swim and perform CPR―should be within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision.” Older children and teens who know how to swim should also have an adult supervising them. Trampolines are popular among children and teens, but cause thousands of injuries every year, especially to children under age 6. Injuries often happen when more than one person is using the trampoline. Because injuries are so common, the AAP recommends trampolines never be used at home, but if they are used, supervising adults should limit jumpers to one at a time.”
  3. Are there any guns in the household? How are they stored?
    1. Roughly one-third of U.S. homes with children have a gun (American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention). It is imperative that any guns be keeped away from children’s access, preferably in a locked safe or locked closet that cannot be entered by children. Tragedies have occurred when kids found guns that parents thought were hidden. If you are uncomfortable with the answer, you can offer to host the kids at your house instead.
  4. Do you have any pets?
    1. If your child has allergies to animals this is imperative to ask. Additionally, if they are not used to being around animals or have a fear of certain kinds, you’ll want to make sure they are not going to be distressed during what should be a fun, social get-together. 
  5. How much screen time will the children have?
    1. Families have different rules and expectations for screen-time. If access to electronics is something that you limit in your own home, it may potentially pose problems if your child receives unlimited access to a new electronic device at a friend’s home then returns home with a desire to continue that level of usage. Additionally, if the children will be playing any video games or watching movies or shows, you may want to share what preferences you have for the ratings of cinema your child is allowed to view. 


Although it may feel awkward to bring up these things in conversation, especially if you’ve just met this other parent, that is OK. The safety and health of your child is what is truly important and you need to feel comfortable with the environment they will be in as well as make sure the other parent feels comfortable. You may even be surprised to find that they appreciate your concerns and will even feel emboldened to ask these same questions themselves on their next playdate! 

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