This blog post on safe play dates is brought to you by VTech and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.
When I was a kid, we didn't really have organized play dates. When we wanted to play with a friend, we simply dropped by or called and asked if we could come over. I'd never actually heard the term “play date” until after Zoë was born.
Regardless, play dates are a way of life for our kids these days. Our fast-paced lives and overly crammed schedules have necessitated the need to organize time to play with friends.
The world has changed a lot since I was a kid too. There are a lot of things to keep in mind to make sure everyone stays safe. It's no longer considered safe for kids to walk to the park alone, so we have to be more vigilant in general.
That's no different with play dates. There are plenty of steps to take to make sure our children and their friends can enjoy playing together in a safe environment. That's why I put together this list of 5 tips for hosting safe play dates.
Ask About Allergies
Childhood allergies are on the rise. They weren't something I remember being an issue when I was a kid, but they sure are today. Make sure to ask whether your child's friend has any allergies so you don't accidentally serve them something that they could react to. Not all children will say no to a food, even if they know they have an allergy.
Communicate with the Parents
Make sure you get to know your child's friend's parent before having them leave their child with you. It's important to have good contact information in case something goes wrong when their child is in your care. It's also important to know if they have any rules or expectations for their child you should know about.
Put Up the Pets
While your dog may be the most child-friendly animal ever, some kids can get overwhelmed in a new environment. An over-excited, jumping dog can make that overwhelm grow to an unbearable level for some children. When your child's friend first arrives, it's best to have the pet put away. Then, once everyone is settled in, you can introduce the pet if it feels appropriate.
Set the Rules
While your child may know the rules of the house, it's best to let the friends know the critical rules of your home, too. Are there areas of the house that are off-limits? Are the kids allowed to go in and out of the house as they please? Hosting safe play dates means setting boundaries and rules.
Get the Friend's Car Seat or Booster Seat
Even though you may be planning to keep the playdate at your home, things pop up and you may need to run to the store. Make sure you have your child's friend's car seat or booster seat so that everyone may travel in the car safely.
Listen In Unobtrusively
While we have a very open relationship with our children and talk to them about behavior that is and is not acceptable, we don't always know what goes on in the homes of our children's friends. Sometimes conversations can be had between friends that are inappropriate, or bullying situations can come up that you need to be aware of.
And sometimes kids just get into things they shouldn't. I don't like to hover over my kids – I like to give them a sense of independence. But I also like to know what is going on, especially when friends are over, and I like to do that as unobtrusively as possible to ensure they have fun and safe play dates.
The VTech Safe&Sound® DM271-110 DECT 6.0 Digital Audio Baby Monitor with Open/Closed & Motion Sensors is a great choice for overseeing play dates.
I love that the VTech Digital Audio Monitor lets you not only listen in to what's going on in your child's room, but it also allows you to talk to your children through it with its two-way, talk-back intercom. And the monitor has a 1,000-foot range, so you can go about your day unhindered.
Another cool feature of the VTech Digital Audio Monitor is its two ULE (Ultra Low Energy) smart home sensors. You can use them to put open/closed and motion sensor alerts on doors, cabinets and open spaces. So you'll know if your child is getting into something they shouldn’t be. It's a great way to enforce off-limit zones for play dates.
This VTech Digital Audio Monitor also comes standard with DECT 6.0 digital technology. This means that your monitor has the most secure connection, so you can rest assured that you will be the only person listening in on our children's conversations.
VTech knows each family has unique needs, so they provide options that work for everyone. VTech’s Safe&Sound audio monitors come equipped with features that give you the peace of mind you demand when it comes to your children. They offer families a wonderful way to stay connected. Their Safe&Sound® monitors range from compact audio monitors to award-winning high-tech video monitors. All of VTech’s monitors share an emphasis on safety and security for your family.
Where to Get VTech Audio Monitors
You can get your very own VTech Digital Audio Monitor on the VTech website or on Amazon.com for $119.95. And be sure to follow VTech on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for their latest news and updates.