DEAR HARRIETTE: My son’s school is currently virtual. They have introduced what they call a "recess room" where all students from the school can interact in a Zoom room and play games and activities during the day. I have noticed that my son has clicked with one female student in particular. She looks somewhat older, but she is a schoolmate. Now my son is asking to have a playdate with this student.
I asked him how old she was, and he didn't know. I asked him what grade she was in, and she’s in the 8th grade -- my son is only in the 4th grade. I just feel like that is too big of an age difference. He expressed that he really likes this girl and he wants to have a date with her at our home. Is this inappropriate at his age, or do you think it’s harmless? I have some concerns and don’t know my next move. -- Young Love
DEAR YOUNG LOVE: Bringing the young lady into your home for a playdate that you can supervise gives you intel and control. You can decide where they can be in your home. You can be present or at least within earshot. Children are often curious about each other. Though they are in two very different age groups, there is a chance that they can truly become friends. If it seems suspicious or anyway untoward, you can have a front seat to it and control it.
During remote learning and general quarantine, you have more control today than you might have later when things open up. You should definitely speak to the girl’s parent or guardian before inviting her over so that everything is out in the open.