When my son was little we would often host playdates. Sometimes we’d have two or three kids over at a time  – especially in the summer when the kids would spend all morning or afternoon splashing in a kiddie pool or playing in the sandbox. Not every playdate was a success  – we had our share of tears, scraped knees and elbows, and even one kid who decided to lick the windows in my living room (don’t ask…). Now that my son is getting close to being a teen, I’m really happy that we always had an open door policy when it comes to friends.  In fact, there are five very important reasons why inviting kids to get comfortable at our house is important to me – here they are…

1. I know my son’s friends.  Peers are the most influential people in your child’s life. Knowing who he’s hanging out with – and being influenced by – is of paramount importance for parents of teens.

2. They know me.  The kids know that they can feel comfortable talking in front of me and sharing information about what’s happening at school and, more importantly, out of school. Listen and learn!

3. I know where these kids are hanging out.  As they get older, kids tend to congregate at different people’s homes. At least when they are here, I can keep an eye on what’s going on without worrying about where they are – or what they’re doing.

4.  It’s fun! Having a lively group of tween and teen boys around is pretty humorous. Teen boys are full of good natured banter and jokes and pick-up basketball games.

5. Food never goes to waste. They eat constantly – a gallon of milk is gone in an afternoon, frozen pizza disappears practically before it’s defrosted, and cookies, cake, and ice cream is devoured in minutes (saving me from eating them…win/win!).

Yes, it’s noisy, stuff gets broken and spilled, but it’s awesome to know that my son feels that he can bring his friends to our home without reservation – and that makes me worry a whole lot less.