Q: We recently set up a playhouse in our backyard for our 2-year-old, and our neighbor and her child sometimes come over to play in it too. However, they’ve started using it when we’re not home. How can I set some boundaries?
A: Talk to your neighbor. Be clear, not bossy: “We love having you and Sammy visit and use the playhouse, but we really do have to ask that you – and anyone else – only use it when we are home. Please check with us first. I’m sure you understand the risk factor.” If this neighbor is someone you’re friendly with or would like to know better, you could go a step further and invite her and her child over for some play dates. You might also put up a little sign (for all in the neighborhood) that reads: “Please check with the Smiths before using the playhouse.” It’s your property, so it’s reasonable for you to be cautious.