If you’re preparing to spend the night at a friend or relative’s house with your young children, you may be feeling a little nervous about how things will go. Kids can be destructive and messy and if you’re going to be staying at a home that doesn’t already have kids living there, you’re likely a little on edge about how your kids will behave. With the right amount of communication and preparation, young children can definitely handle a stay at another home. Below, we’ve listed some of our best tips for staying at another home with young children.
Tips for Staying at Another Home with Young Children
Preparing for a stay at another home with young children requires a little more than just packing up a few bags. Below, we’ve listed our top tips to help make staying with a friend or relative a smooth process.
- Set a positive example
- Start talking with kids ahead of time
- Be aware of inappropriate behavior and address accordingly
- Go out of your way to ensure your child’s needs are met
- Designate a kid’s area
- When in doubt, get out of the house
If your host has kids of their own, it may make it a little easier to bring your kids into this environment since there will likely already be toys and other kid friendly activities. However, even if this is the case it is still important to teach your kids to be respectful and show gratitude when staying with someone else.
1. Set a Positive Example
One of the most important (and easiest) ways to ensure that your children are respectful when staying at another home is to set a positive example yourself. Always show respect to your hosts by offering to help with cleaning up and food preparations. You can also bring a small gift to show gratitude when you arrive, such as a house plant, flowers, or some baked goods. Children begin modelling their parents from a very young age so leading by example is always important when you have little ones following in your footsteps.
2. Start Talking with Kids Ahead of Time
It can take some time to get through to kids, given that they tend to have short attention spans and may not always understand exactly what you’re saying to them. Start communicating way ahead of time about your plans to stay at another home. This can help mentally prepare your children and gives you the opportunity to go over any important boundaries or rules. It is also helpful to talk with the host ahead of time to get an idea of where everyone will be sleeping and who else will be at the home.
3. Be Aware of Inappropriate Behavior and Address Accordingly
Once you are at the house where you and your family will be staying, you’ll want to stay attentive to your children’s behavior. If they do act out, then make sure to address this behavior as it happens. Sometimes kids have to learn as they go, so by using inappropriate behavior as an opportunity to teach them the correct way to act, you can help leave a lasting impact for future stays with friends and family. If your child acts out when staying at another home, make sure to remain calm and communicate clearly. Explain to them why the behavior was inappropriate and try to figure out why they were acting out to begin with.
4. Go Out of Your Way to Ensure Your Child’s Needs are Met
Staying at another home could potentially be a stressful or intimidating experience for your child. Make sure to talk with them about any concerns or fears that they have and find ways to ensure that they are comfortable. Oftentimes, kids act out because they want attention or because they have some type of need that isn’t being met. By staying on top of your kids’ needs, you’ll likely be able to avoid dealing with tantrums or inappropriate behavior. Make sure that your children have a safe and comfortable place to sleep, foods that they like, all of their hygiene essentials, and plenty of changes of clean clothes.
5. Designate a Kid’s Area
Whether you’re staying at a “kid house” or not, it’s not a bad idea to bring along some kid items such as toys and set aside a designated area for kids to play. This can make kids feel welcome and comfortable and can give them a way to stay busy when the adults are talking. If you’re going to be staying at a house with younger children and babies, you can set up a playpen or enclosed play area to help keep kids safe. If the house you’re staying at doesn’t already have children living there, it likely won’t be a very kid-proof environment. So, by designating a room or area for children to play, you can keep kids safe and avoid any potential accidents.
6. When in Doubt, Get Outside
If you run into a situation when your children have tons of energy and you’re concerned about them destroying your host's home, it may be time to just get out of the house. Hopefully you’re staying at a home that has a yard where the kids can run around but if not, you can always look for a nearby park to give your kids some time to burn their energy. Keeping kids busy when on a vacation or staying with family is one of the best ways to keep everyone happy.
Bringing your kids to stay with friends or family can definitely be nerve wracking at first, especially if you’re heading to a home where they don’t have kids. If you prepare accordingly and have some patience, your kids will likely impress you and you can enjoy your stay with loved ones with minimal issues. Make sure you keep your kids entertained and busy and take steps to ensure their comfort and security. Begin communicating about your stay at another home well in advance in order to give your kids some time to mentally prepare.
The Pop N’ Go Playpen is a versatile travel accessory for children and babies.