This is part of a series of short posts that are meant to be like little nudges of counsel from what I’ve been able to experience with my 5 year old and my (almost) 2 year old.
Know them throughly
For your child’s safety, you must become Sherlock Holmes. Through the power of observation (and an occasional interview – disguised as common talk) determine if you will let your kid have fun inside your neighbor’s house, playing with their child.
If you are not certain that it would be safe for them to play indoors, don’t allow it! Follow your gut feeling always and don’t let your arm be bended by those puppy-like eyes your kid shows when asking: “Can I go next door to play?”
Drop By Unannounced
Even though no one ever knows people to the full extent (not even I know myself completely), these tips will help you protect your kids when you are not there. On top of that, schedule unannounced visits to ensure everything is ok. Bake some muffins and go over. Ask your child to come back and give you a hand with the frosting. Give some of those delicious confections to the neighbors. The time spent helping you is perfect for some questioning. “What have you been playing? Do you need to use the bathroom? Be sure to use it before you leave.” These are a few of the things you can ask. Make sure you let them know, beforehand, that if they need to use the bathroom, they must return to home base and use theirs. Also remind them that asking for food / candy is not polite. If the want something, they should return and ask you.
This is one key element of your job as Champion of your kids well being. Do it well!