2 YEARS OLD
Should you discipline someone else’s kid at a play date that you’re hosting? DR RICHARD C. WOOLFSON shares his thoughts.
Learn what you should do when someone else’s kid misbehaves at a play date that you’re hosting.
Play dates are great for your little one because they keep him busy and happy. He gets to learn important social skills, such as sharing and turn-taking, as well.
Occasionally, some parents drop their kids off at your home and go off to run errands – you probably do this, too, when your child has a play date hosted by a trusted friend. And that’s all ne… until one of the children misbehaves. Then you wonder what to do. Can you discipline someone else’s kid? What would his parents want you to do? How would they react when they learn you reprimanded him?
Of course, prevention is better than cure. That’s why most parents arrange for their child to have play dates only with peers whose mums and dads share similar values.
For example, you are unlikely to invite a toddler whose mum thinks two-yearolds are too young to know about taking turns and allows her kid to snatch toys. Having similar expectations reduces the likelihood that you’ll need to discipline a naughty child.
Yet things can go wrong– even the most well-behaved toddler can explode with rage if provoked. Or he might simply take advantage of the fact that his parents aren’t there to enforce the rules.
That’s why it is best to agree with other parents on basic discipline rules when setting up play dates, to avoid potential misunderstandings.
But your mum says…
Bear in mind that the child will respond better to his own parents’ authority. So you would want to be able to tell him: “Your dad told me
that you’re not allowed to hit others/have more sweets/use rude words and he’ll be very annoyed with you if I tell them you won’t stop.”
Reminding him that he remains answerable to his parents – even though they are not present – is usually very effective.
Chat with the other mums and dads, for instance, about what their child is allowed to eat, how much screen-time he can have, what toys he is allowed to play with, and so on.
That way, you will have some understanding of their expectations, and you’ll be able to point these out to the child if necessary.
In addition, nd out how the parents usually deal with their kid’s misbehaviour. Do they use verbal reprimands? Do they use time-out? What do they do when he throws tantrums?
Chances are, their discipline methods will coincide with yours anyway. Find out if they are happy for you to use the same approach with their child if something goes wrong during the play date.
You should go home now
Should the child misbehave and you feel you have to take action – and if you are concerned that his parents might be troubled by this – reprimand your kid, as well.
Although that might seem unjust (especially if your little one appears to be innocent), giving them both a telling-off at the same time demonstrates to the other parents that you have dealt with them fairly and even-handedly.
Finally, no matter how much you are provoked by the kid’s misbehaviour, never use physical punishment (even if his parents have given you permission to do so). That’s not your job.
If things have become so challenging that you feel tempted to raise your hand at your child’s friend, call his parents and tactfully ask them to come and pick him up now.
No matter how much you are provoked by the other child’s misbehaviour, never use physical punishment. That’s not your job.