Q: We recently bought a swing set for our four-year-old, but now neighborhood kids come over to play at all hours. How can we limit these visits? And should we be talking to the kids or their parents?
A: Start with the parents. Discuss the issue in a friendly way, on the phone or face-to-face. Say, “We love having the children over to enjoy the swing set. But we also want to establish guidelines for safety’s sake and so that we can have our own family time in the yard.” Specify hours during which children are welcome and can be supervised. (Or, install a flagpole in the yard and tell neighbors that kids can play when the flag is raised.) Reinforce your message with the children, who can learn about respect for privacy.