Douche-Proof Your Next Play Date With These 10 Commandments

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play date ettiquetteOnce your kid hits school age, play dates are either the most awesome or most awful thing ever in the world, depending on whether you’re hosting or not. Personally, I love them. My kid is an only child, so it’s good to host her peers once in awhile so she doesn’t turn out too weird. When I’m the one dropping off, it’s even awesomer because play dates are basically just latin for free babysitting. The only thing that really sucks is that there doesn’t seem to be a universal play date etiquette, which can be awkward. That’s why I compiled this list of the ten play date commandments: so people can stop lingering in my doorway after our kids go into my backyard to torture the dog, wondering if they have to leave or stay.

I. Thou Shalt GTFO

Seriously. Leave. Our kids might be friends, but we don’t have to be. If we are friends, let’s hang out sometime I have pants on. Go away.

II. Thou Shalt Be Explicit In Your Directions

If your kid never watches TV, you have to tell me. Your child is a liar. They will tell me that they’re totally allowed to watch all the SpongeBob SquarePants they want. If you don’t tell me otherwise, I’m going to let them because there’s only so much torture my dog can take.

III. Thou Shalt Pack Any Weird Food That Your Kid Eats

Gluten free? Dairy averse? Vegan? Pack it. I try my hardest to keep a variety of special diet snacks on hand, but there is zero way for me to anticipate the needs of every single child, which has led to many a play date snack of water and dried seaweed. Similarly, I need to know if your kid is allergic to strawberries before their tongue starts swelling up.

IV. Thou Shalt Not Call Me

Unless it’s an emergency. Your kid is fine. I’ll let you know if that changes.

V. Thou Shalt Come Back On Time

If you’re picking up at four, pick up at four. Six o’clock is not fourish and your kid is gonna freak out if it starts to get dark. Children can be surprisingly morbid. I don’t want to have to talk them down off of a ledge because they think they’re never going to see you again.

VI. Thou Shalt Text Me If You’re Running Late

That said, lateness happens. Maybe your errands are taking forever, maybe you want to cuddle after doin’ it with your spouse on your first kid-free day in six years. Whatever. Just send me a text.

VII. Thou Shalt Accept That Your Kid Is Awful

I have. My kid is a different person once thoroughly sugared and let loose with a peer. Yours is too. I might have to give them a death look or sternly tell them to stop chucking legos down the stairs or remind them that guinea pigs don’t like swimming in the toilet. If you don’t want other parents to discipline your kid, play dates aren’t for you.

VIII. Thou Shalt Take Over When You Get Here

Once you get back, your child is no longer my responsibility. If you’re letting all of my A/C out by lingering in the open doorway making small talk and they dart out into the street, that’s on you.

IX. Thou Shalt Not Plan The Next Playdate In My Living Room

On the off chance that I never want your child in my home again, don’t make it weird by planning the next one in the wreckage of my still smouldering home. Also, if the kids are listening, they’re going to get stroppy if I say that we have plans next weekend. Email was invented for this purpose.

X. Thou Shalt Reciprocate

Quid pro quo, Clarice. Don’t be a douche.