Play contracts would clear up so many things for those lacking common sense.

Dear Neighborhood Parent,

As it has become apparent that your child wishes to play with my child and that my child enjoys the company of yours as well, it seems it would behoove us therefore to formalize the terms of their relationship from this point hence in order to avoid misunderstanding. While it is unusual to take such measures, past experience has taught us that this is the best way to continue amicably as neighbors for as long as we remain so.

We understand it is possible that we will never meet, as you have yet to be present with your child when we encounter him/her, so please review and sign the attached contract and return it with your child at the next occasion of his/her coming over to play.  Failure to do so will result in a canceled play date as we cannot any longer permit play without a contract in place.

We look forward to a long summer of fun for our children. If you do not sign, please do not take it personally if we prevent your children and ours from playing together in the future. It’s simply more work than it’s worth to allow play without a contract in place.

the Boy’s family.

Terms and Conditions for Playing with the Boy.

1. Weapons
The Boy has a vast and constantly changing arsenal of homemade imitation weaponry fashioned out of anything that he, or his uncles, think looks like part of a weapon. They are wood, metal, plastic, and of course, duct tape. I ____________ (your name here) hereby agree to indemnify the Boy’s family  for all damages accrued to the person of my child in the course of playing with said weaponry. The Boy’s family is not liable for any injuries incurred by my child rapidly swinging a wooden sword above his head, for example, or pretending to fight with it against another child. Neither is  the Boy’s family responsible for any injuries my child may sustain from another child while playing with said items. I may instruct my child not to play with such things if I like. The Boy’s family will not enforce such preferences as that is my job as my child’s parent. I have been informed however the the Boy’s family will attempt to facilitate alternative means of play if my child makes my wishes known.

2. Wrestling/Play Fighting
I also agree to indemnify the Boy’s family for all injuries, both imagined and real, sustained during the course of wrestling and playing rough. I realize that in the Boy’s family if a person chooses to play rough and gets hurt they may not whine about it and I consent to the following guidelines.

  1. An aggressive attack against another person will be interpreted as an invitation to play rough, and the child doing so will be personally responsible for whatever action follows said invitation. The Boy’s family allows children the credit of letting them make their own choices and experiencing the consequences of their choices first hand. 
  2. Fingers will get pinched, bruises and holes in pants may ensue, as well as mild scratches, grass stains, and the occasional hurt causing tears and the need for a time out. 
  3. In the Boy’s family children are trained to respect another who calls for time out or taps out and stop all wrestling. My child will be expected to do the same. 
  4. Wrestling may not be participated in by angry children. That’s called fighting. Hurting people in anger will not be tolerated.

3. Bikes, Scooters, Skateboards, Strollers and all other Toys
The Boy’s family will permit my child to use the play equipment they have provided for their child’s enjoyment. I agree that my child uses it at his/her own risk. I agree to indemnify the Boy’s family for any injuries to my child as a result of his/her use of said equipment. I also agree that if my child fails to return something he/she is playing with when asked and leaves it laying outside at the playground, he/she will forfeit the chance to play with toys on the occasion of the next visit. My child also brings his/her toys over at his/her own risk. The Boy’s family is not responsible to keep track of my child’s toy and make sure it gets safely home.

4. Supervision
I have the right to choose to allow my children to roam free outside without oversight. I agree that by doing so I forfeit the right to complain about whatever supervision is provided by the Boy’s family to my children in the course of their play with the Boy. If my child is seen unscrewing light bulbs and breaking them all over the concrete side walk, for example, while I am completely absent, I agree that the Boy’s family may deal with the situation however they see fit. I forfeit the right to yell at the Boy’s family about how my boy is a good kid later when they try to politely inform me of my child’s actions. Also, allowing my child to play inside the Boy’s family house constitutes tacit agreement with the rules of said house and their right to enforce them. If my child fails to comply with the rules explained to them they will forfeit the privilege of entering the Boy’s family house.

5. Food
The Boy’s family is happy to provide water for my children to drink should they get thirsty. They are also happy to provide snacks on occasion. They have even been known to seat 4 or 5 extra bodies for dinner at one time when they choose to. They will not be serving junk food however and reserve the right to say no to any child who asks, especially if they are rude, for food whenever they come over, for whatever reason. I agree that it is my job to feed my child, not the responsibility of the Boy’s family.

6. Abandonment
I agree that I will not ever send my child over to play with the Boy and then disappear, leaving them in the care of the Boy’s family for hours on end. I will not abuse their hospitality in such a fashion and will have the courtesy to ask if they are willing to watch my children before abandoning them at their door. I recognize that to do so will give the Boy’s family tacit permission to profit from my child by whatever means they deem fit. Actions may include, but are not limited to;

  • selling them to gypsies, 
  • using them to scrub toilets, 
  • leaving them in the supervision of squirrels of questionable character when expedient
  • filing a missing child report on my behalf and collecting the reward for finding the missing child, 
  • or teaching them to knit stockings to sell on

6. Rudeness and Meanness
If my child cannot refrain from speaking rudely to any member of the Boy’s family after requests to modify their behavior they will not be permitted to play with the children of the Boy’s family. Also if my child indulges in what appears to be deliberate cruelty he/she will not be permitted to play with the children of the Boy’s family. The Boy’s family reserves the right to terminate at any point my child’s contact with theirs if my child refuses to modify his/her behavior in the presence of the Boy’s family. Also, any child who is rude to their own parents or disobedient shall be immediately evicted from the home of the Boy’s family until reparations in the form of apology or obedience to their own parent have been made.

I _________ (your name here) agree to all the above stipulations and sign to that effect on this date of______.

all content © Carrien Blue

3 thoughts on “Play contracts would clear up so many things for those lacking common sense.

  1. Oh the temptation to deliver these, must resist :o)

    Shame it even need cross your mind though and yes, what is it with parents who go out leaving their child 'on the street' meaning I do not go out as I am too much of a sucker to leave them on their own. What happened to a quick 'would you mind' or 'are you staying home for a couple of hours' really folks….

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