Q: You invite a child over for a play date with your child, but the child always brings his or her sibling. What do you say to the parent who lets this happen?
A: It’s important to be flexible in this situation and empathetic to the other parent. You should keep in mind that someone else’s life could be pretty complicated, and a sibling coming along for a play date could be a tricky situation, especially if the child has working parents.
That being said, the parent who is bringing another child should give the other parent a heads-up and ask if it’s OK.
But if the parent is not forthcoming or if you say no and the sibling comes along anyway, it’s not worth being bent out of shape about. Play dates are truly some of the most important moments in a child’s life, and a parent shouldn’t let an additional child keep the play date from happening.
FAYE DE MUYSHONDT, founder of Socialsklz
A: If this is a play date where both parents stick around, one parent might have a young child who needs to still be watched, and it may be the parent’s only choice.
But if you and the other parent agree to one child coming, and the other parent brings two — and now you’re watching more children by yourself than you’d planned for — that’s rude. At that point, you should bring up safety concerns. Say, “I was planning to focus on just these two children, and I’m not sure I will have the attention to take care of the other child, too. Is there another option?”
You can try to avoid this scenario altogether by clarifying on the front end, so that the other parent is expecting the same as you. Ask, “You’re dropping off Jimmy at 1 o’clock, and you’ll be back at 3 o’clock, right?”
DAVID L. HILL, author of “Dad to Dad: Parenting Like a Pro”