I feel like I just sat down and visited with my friends over a cup o Joe (I’ve always wanted to say that). Thanks for sharing your thoughts. This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately because we’re faced with it weekly. To all you Moms with little ones, just wait! I remember being shocked at invitations for sleep overs for my Kindergartner and play dates with people I’d never met before. I’m not a popular mom with these parents, but that’s okay with me. My kids know we don’t do sleep overs and they accept the rules. Because I think deep down they know it’s all out of love. And remember, It’s okay to say, “No, thank you.” Oh, and thanks for making me feel not so paranoid after all.
Can we talk a minute?
I don’t love play dates. Is that bad?
Just felt like I needed to get that out. I feel much better now.
My kids love them, though. And so we make dates to play, carefully.
During the school year, my kids are away from me for nearly 40 hours a week. When they get home, besides homework and studying for tests, we have karate once a week. And church. And you know, dinner and Wii bowling tournaments, together. My kids also miss seeing one another during the day and they like to play and catch up after school.
And, did I mention I miss them?
So there’s that. And then there’s the worry.
My kids enjoy playing with their cousins and with friends from church. We know a few neighbors, but we definitely enjoy our privacy, so we keep to ourselves some. And classmates? Other than an occasional snippet from the classroom, do I really know what these kid’s homes are like?
Am I the only mother who worries about my child playing in a neighborhood home of someone I hardly know? I can’t help but wonder, “Are their guns in your home, pit bulls, pedophiles?” I’m just saying.
Did you know that over 40% of homes with children have a gun and many of those guns are left unlocked or unloaded? I ran across this info from the A.S.K. gun safety campaign (Asking Saves Kids).
I have good friends who think I’m a little paranoid. And, I’m sure they are right. Their kids spend several afternoons a week in play dates and seem safe and happy.
And now, with summer here and loads of free time, I know the doorbell will be ringing.
My nature and personality demands some guidelines:
1. I schedule play dates about once or twice a month for each of my older kids (this gives me time to plan and gives my kids an incentive and something to look forward to).
2. I do not do ‘spur of the moment’ play dates because I feel pressured by an acquaintance at my front door.
3. The friend plays in my home first. I want to know the kind of relationships my children are developing.
4. I make sure I can answer these questions: If there are guns, are they locked away and out of the reach of children? Do they have scary dogs? What does my gut instinct say about this family? Will they be cared for and be safe without me?
So, what about you?
Food for the Soul:
“But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children- with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.”- Psalm 103:17-18