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Playdate Rules for Inside the House

By Jodie Lynn


My four-year-old son's best friend is a little boy from his preschool class. He acts out and becomes highly active in our home when he visits. I try to explain the rules we have in our house but he refuses to listen. There's been a few times when I just had to take him back to his house early, but felt guilty. How is the best way for me to handle this situation? Should I continue to explain the rules or talk to his mom?


We have three little girls and it can get pretty loud when even one of them has company. My wife and I wrote up house rules and posted them on the fridge. Plus, we decided to go over them each time they had play dates with other children at our house. If they didn't follow them, we called the parents to pick them up and our own kids were not allowed to have company for at least one week. - Mark and Stacey W. in Boise, ID


Acting goofy and trying to make other kids laugh is natural behavior at this age, especially for little boys. They all want to run fast, jump higher and be even more boisterous, even to the point of quickly forgetting any rules. The solution to your specific scenario may greatly depend on how frequently your son's best friend visits, how often he breaks a house rule and perhaps even which one. If he seems to constantly break the same ones and you've explained to him why it's not allowed in your house, there are a few options to consider. You can explain the rule so that the friend understands it and why it's important at your house. For example, if you tell him there is no running in the house and he does so, be sure that he understands why you have this rule. Also, if the kids seem to get along well and really enjoy each other's company, talk things over with his mom, dad or both. Be sure you do not mention his behavior when you are upset. Maybe one day when everyone is at the park or wherever, ask if they have rules for acceptable behavior in their house. Casually share your own after talking about theirs. It's almost a given that they will be more than happy to work with you on this. If not, the kids should only be allowed to play outside or away from your house under supervision for their safety and your peace of mind.

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We have been on a waiting list for two years for our son to be able to attend a specific preschool. We were just notified that he will be able to do so this fall. However, he will only be two-and-a-half when school begins and it states that he has to be totally potty trained. According to their rules, if he has more than two accidents, he will be dismissed. We were wondering if they can really kick him out for having an accident and if we can expect them to at least help a little if needed.

To share parenting tips or submit questions, write to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road, Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Email direct2contact, or go to which provides a secure and easy way to submit tips or questions. All tips must have city, state and first and last name or initials to be included in the column.

© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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