Children, by nature, love to make friends. Some kids are more social than others, but chances are your child will buddy up with someone in preschool or elementary school.
Playing together outside of school will soon be desired, but it's a whole new world. How do you talk to the other parent without coming across as an overbearing helicopter parent? And should you really care what they think?
The other parents
If you're able to spend time at your child's school, you may already know a lot of the other moms and dads. School parties, field trips and even dropping off and picking up, present opportunities to get to know the other parents. However, if you're not able to be involved as much as you like, you may know nothing about the other child's folks.
Info to get
If your child wants to hang out with another child, have her get the other kid's phone number. This way you can phone them and set it up, as opposed to leaving it up to a 5-year-old who may not get the details straight. Introduce yourself as your child's parent and let them know that the kids would like to have a playdate or a sleepover.
You might want to ask some not-so-comfortable questions, such as:
- Are there any firearms in the home? If so, how are they stored?
- Does anyone smoke in the home?
- Will you be there at all times when my child is there?
- Will my child be safe with your pet?
You will also need to exchange information about pet allergies, food allergies and special diets, as well as any other medical needs your child has.
The drop off
Your child will likely be extremely excited about spending time with her friend, but make sure that you spend some time chatting with the other child's parents before you leave. Make sure you have contact information, including a cell phone number and let your child know that she can call you at any time to be picked up early -- so write down your phone number for your child, as well as the other parents.
Even if you're totally comfortable with the other parents and have spent time with them before, you may worry while your child is away from you, particularly if this is her first playdate or sleepover. Feel free to phone to check in! However, you will learn to relax the more often she goes, and while you'll always need to get the important information when she makes a new friend, your kiddo will thrive in her new friendships.