Hosting Fun, Safe Playdates at Your Home

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Making friends is part of growing up for your children. They need this exposure to develop fulfilling relationships throughout life. Playdates are one of the best ways for kids to build bonds with others. This out-of-school playtime is essential for stimulating social, emotional, and cognitive development. At the same time, you need to ensure playdates don’t get out of control. Here’s how to host fun, safe playdates at your home.

Lock Up Dangerous Objects

You’ve heard a thousand times that you need to safely store chemicals. However, more than 300 children go to the ER every day for poisoning. And did you know you can be held liable if another child is hurt at your home? It’s true. Compare homeowners’ insurance rates to better understand these potential liabilities. You can’t be too safe when it comes to keeping young children away from toxic substances. This includes just about everything that you will find under the kitchen sink. There are special child-proof devices that make it much more difficult to access these products. You should give the same priority to hiding alcohol and firearms. None of these things should be readily available to a child.

Don’t Invite Over Too Many Kids

Having a lot of friends is something to celebrate. If your child get along with their schoolmates, you’re doing something right. At the same time, this shouldn’t be an invitation for having huge playdates at your home. At some point, the risks outweigh the benefits. Consider the chaos of having 10 or 15 kids running around your house. The potential for trouble increases as more personalities are added to the fray. Plus, even good kids can be convinced to do bad things when in a large group.

Know Your Pets

You love your pets. However, they can possibly be a hazard when having unfamiliar children over to your home. Dogs can get protective of their families. It’s possible they will not react well to one of your child’s friends. This can be especially true if the kids are acting wild, and in turn rile up your pets. Cats might also be overly protective against people who they don’t know well. They may scratch or bite a child who tries to pick them up without warning. All these things can be traumatic or harmful to children. It might just be best to sequester your pets to their own area unless you know they are extremely calm.

Ask About Allergies

Food and other allergies are a serious concern when hosting a playdate. You need to ask parents ahead of time if their kids have any allergies. Certain nut allergies can lead to anaphylactic shock just from being nearby. Even if you’re a doctor, you don’t want to be doing any emergency procedures at a playdate. It’s best to know about all allergies before something happens. Keep Benadryl in your medicine cabinet as a backup just in case someone has an unexpected reaction.

Few things will make you feel worse than failing to keep someone else’s child safe. Consider these tips for hosting playdates before you invite anyone to your home.

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Samantha Acuna is a writer based in San Francisco, CA. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post,, and Yahoo Small Business.