While we didn't end up meeting at McDonald's that night, I called the mom and had a nice conversation with her. She and I, and our daughters, too, have been friends ever since, and now the girls are in middle school.
HELEN'S ANSWER: If your child is invited to a sleepover and you don't know the parents, call them and politely discuss the plans for the evening. Introduce yourself via telephone and find out who else is coming. Don't be shy about asking about activities, movies to be shown and the house rules.
If you know the parents of other children attending, do your research to inquire about the host parents and their sleepover rules. After you have talked to everyone, then make your decision.
Sleepover experiences can be great fun, but it is wise to know where you are sending your child. There are issues that must be addressed, such as when a child is ill or homesick. You need to know if kids can sneak out or if they ever get into fights or bully other kids.
GUEST'S ANSWER: Hilarie Blaney, etiquette and international protocol consultant: First, I would call and ask some questions regarding house rules and ask other parents that you know if they know the parents. The child's age is a factor as well. I would do some homework and decide what age-appropriate rules and length of time for the visit is appropriate.
Some of my best childhood memories are from when I was surrounded by friends, and this is a good way for children to learn social skills.
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