Dear parents of my kids’ friends,
As I start to loosen the cord a little bit and finally let my babies do playdates without me, I need your help. You see, Paul and I are doing our very best to raise our babies the best way we know how. But, we cannot and will not always be there to guide them every step of the way.
Here is where your part comes into play. I have put together a short list of items that I am hoping you can assist with when my kids are in your care:
1. Please discipline them like your own. Truly, I mean that. My babies are still learning and growing and sometimes make bad decisions. When they make those decisions when I am not around, they are still at an age where they need someone to step in and remind them that they didn’t choose wisely. I need you to do that for me.
2. Your household rules are their rules when they are there. For instance, we sometimes live like monkeys — our couch becomes a trampoline and the floor is almost always lava. But, if you do not climb on your furniture then please correct my kids if they try it there. (Don’t be afraid or feel weird about it. I have already warned them that they are not to do that at other people’s houses but sometimes they forget).
3. Please make them pick up after themselves. When I say it is time for my kids to come home, I buffer in some clean-up time. Anything that they have played with needs to be put back in its place. While my kids know this, sometimes they need a reminder.
4. I assure you that I feed my kids. They are not always starving — they are moochers! They can eat a full meal, say they are stuffed and walk into a new house with different snacks and suddenly they think they haven’t had a bite to eat in days. While I have been working on them with not making food requests at other peoples’ houses, sometimes their young minds lose track of that. Please feel free to tell them that it is not snack time or send them home if they insist that they are hungry. (We do have food here).
5. If my kids are over and your dinner is ready, please do not feel obligated to feed my child. Never will I take offense to you sending them home because you are eating dinner. It is not your job to feed my kids meals. Again, we do have food here.
6. There will be off days – especially if our kids have spent several days in a row together. And I completely get that. If it is one of those days, just send my kids home. Most likely, they need some extra alone time or sleep or just cuddles with Mom and Dad. I mean, everyone can have too much of a good thing. A reset is welcomed and sometimes so needed.
7. Finally, if it is something serious — something that my child just isn’t grasping or actions that are harmful, hurtful or annoying, please come talk to me. Let me know what is going on so I can stand with you, reiterate right from wrong, explain more in depth the severity of the situation and make sure that they understand that I expect better of them. If I do not know about something my child does when they are not in my care, I cannot help correct it. And again, my children are going to mess up. This is a time of learning and growing. I know this, and I will never be a mom who reacts in a negative way to feedback that my child made a mistake. I want to know and help grow my babies into really good people so I will take it and make it a lesson.
Your children are always welcome here as well. Please just know that these are the rules that I have put into place for when other kids are at my house. And on top of this, I also will love on your child and make sure that they know their worth. If I correct them and see them change their behavior, I will tell them how proud of them I am.
You see, we are a team — a village. No matter how bad we want to think we can do it alone, we really have to all do it together. I appreciate you, and I thank you for pouring into my babies when I am not around.
A Mama attempting to shape her ever learning and growing kids.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.