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Having a number of young children together for a play-date is good for your children. They make new friends and develop their social skills. However, the young guests may have a different environment at home. The following suggestions are important to establish before the play begins. This is a simple method that protects the children as well as informs them of what is to be expected in your environment.
1. Take a few moments to discuss rules and safety with your children and their visiting friends before they begin playing. For example you could say, "Our rules are simple--no hurting each other, no screaming, and no running indoors."
2. Checking toys, play and sports equipment on a regular basis to make sure they are safe.
3. Another common-sense way to protect the kids, is to monitor your their activities and make sure they are not doing anything dangerous.
4. Checking your home for potential dangers. Do you have a throw rug that people tend to trip over? A walkway that gets slippery when it rains? Find ways to fix these problems.
5. Talk to the parents before any play dates take place and discuss your concerns about the children's safety and what they expect of you. Ask them if there is anything they absolutely don't want their child doing, such as climbing trees or riding scooters.
It is also a good idea to have extra protective equipment on hand. An extra bike helmet, kneepads and wrist guards are useful. In fact I even have my tricycle bike riders wear their helmets to get them into the habit at an early age.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|