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Raise a Kid Who Gets Invited Back

ETIQUETTE TIPS FOR YOU

Good guest skills don't stop with your kids. Some things to remember:

Time your arrival. It's best to show up about five minutes after you've agreed to come. If you're early, you run the risk of the family not being ready. If you're more than ten minutes late, the other child will be anxiously watching the clock.

Don't bring siblings. Unless they were specifically invited, of course.

Have cash ready. If the other family plans to take your child to a movie or other outing, at least offer a few bucks for snacks or parking.

Reciprocate already! It's an unwritten rule that when your child is invited to a playdate, sleepover, or other outing, you'll try to invite the friend to your house next time. After all, the other parents don't want to feel like their house is your daycare center.

Pick up promptly. Calling at the designated pickup time to say you're running late—even by just 20 minutes—won't earn points from the tired host parent. Get this: Shannon Duffy of Palm Springs, CA, hosted a five-hour playdate that was supposed to end after two hours. "The mom had left a cell-phone number, and I called it, but her phone was turned off. When she finally did call to say she was on her way, she didn't even acknowledge how late she was or explain why!"

Ask how it went. A quick recap of the get-together gives the other parent a chance to tell you what went well—and what didn't.

Teri Cettina, a freelance writer and mom of two hungry girls, also pens a money blog: yourfamilymoney.wordpress.com.

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