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Rules for Play Groups

By Jodie Lynn


I am in a play group with five other moms. We take turns having play-dates with our kids once a week. There are a couple of kids that simply do not abide by the indoor play rules and get out of hand. Should I correct them when they are at my house or constantly ask their moms to do so?


Our play group has ten moms and half of them have two kids. There were some rules voted on and printed up in the beginning. Our philosophy was that a rule had to have at least six votes before it actually became one. Since there are only five moms in your group, you may need to talk about each situation and let everyone vote on it. If for some reason a mom disagrees with a request, she is allowed to leave that specific house or event without any ill feelings. - Caitlin Williams in Baton Rouge, LA


Since your play group may end up growing, getting some guidelines in place now would certainly save time and energy in the end, as well as allowing you to avoid some unnecessary drama. The tricky part in your group is to do so without making the mom with the rowdy child feel picked on. Honesty is the best policy so you might have a talk with her about her child in a private conversation. Some moms are well aware what a handful their child or children can be and so are not offended when others need to correct their child. However, others may take it personally. If she does not mind, when things happen at your house, go ahead and correct the child. If she insists on doing it herself, you may have no other choice but to point out each mishap to her when it happens. Keep in mind that parents may have different feelings about and rules for their family than you do for your own. What you deem as unacceptable behavior may be fine with them at their own house. Some kids will try to get away with more at another house than at their own, especially if they are excited and have other kids around to show off for and garner attention from. Even if she decides to correct the situation herself, there will be times when you are going to have to speak up as well. Using firm but not mean or aggressive words usually works best. Simply tell the child that you do not allow that behavior at your house and to please stop. Be sure to explain what the unacceptable behavior is at the time it is taking place.

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We have at least three weddings to go to this summer. Two of the couples want the kids to attend and the other one asked us not to bring kids. We have a nine-year-old and a six-month-old baby. We are not comfortable leaving the baby with anyone for three to four hours. Should he be counted on the RSVP that asked us not to bring the kids by maybe hand-writing his name on it, or should we just take him anyway?

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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