Here’s an interesting blog about play dates. The main question the author asks is: do you ask about guns before allowing your children to go over someone’s house?
This mostly applies to a parent you might not know very well. So imagine it’s a birthday party and a dozen kids get invited over to someone’s house, is this one of the questions you will ask? Is it even appropriate? This parent suggests not only asking about guns, but eight other things as well.
1. What are the kids going to be doing? Will they be playing with toys (Legos, dolls), watching TV, running around outside, playing video games?
2. Do you have a trampoline, swimming pool, or any other things that are potentially unsafe? We used to have a trampoline, and the whole neighborhood would come over. But also, my brother broke his elbow on the thing.
3. Which adults will be home with the kids? Is it the parents, older siblings, a grandparent, a sitter? You will want to be introduced to anyone supervising the kids. Make sure you have everyone’s contact info and that they have yours.
4. Any snacks planned? If you have a child with allergies, this question is going to be a no-brainer for you. But parents also may want to limit sugar, or avoid too much snacking before dinner. It’s fair to ask.
5. Do you have any pets? Maybe your kids have allergies or maybe the family has a big, scary pit bull straining its chain in the backyard.
6. Are you going anywhere? If the play date includes being driven places, you’ll want to offer to bring over an extra child seat for you kid. Don’t assume they have one.
7. Any special rules I should know about? Different families have different rules, and you want to make sure your child will be able to mind the family’s rules within reason.
8. How do you handle disagreements? This is a delicate way of asking how they discipline kids. Are they going to put your kid in a time-out, or would they actually spank your kid? Are you okay with that?
Do you ask these same types of questions?
It’s not something I’ve had to spend much time thinking about because I don’t have children, but it seems to me that if it concerns your own kids, ask anything you want, especially if it is regarding their safety. Don’t worry about the response you might get or whether or not the other parent will be offended.
In fact, I’d guess most responsible parents and gun owners wouldn’t be offended by your question. Therefore, you should never be afraid to ask. On that note, we’d probably all be better off if we stopped judging everyone based on their every move (or in this case, questions).
Here are a few responses we received via text message during the Bruce St. James Show:
• It’s your job as a parent to use your senses and make those decisions without asking all the questions. Investigate on your own, don’t just send your kids to someone’s home and care without knowing what they will be doing.
• Who gets to determine whats annoying? And who gave them that right to pass judgement??
• We have guns in our house we r target shooters all our friends know and only 1 repeatedly asks us to make sure our guns are locked up every time she visits
• As a parent, it’s my responsibility to keep my kids safe. For a first visit, I always ask safety questions. For me, asking if there are guns in the house falls into the same category as asking if there is a pool. That’s my job as a mom.
• My son is now 10. We never have play dates or sleepovers at our house because we have weapons in the house. I will not assume that responsibility for other people’s children.
• Absolutely you ask. I’m a police officer and a father I will always ask. Anybody that’s offended by it my son doesn’t need to associate themselves with. As a courtesy I tell people I have a gun in the house and secured in the safe so they do not need to worry about their child.