When you have a young child, having guests can be just as challenging as traveling to someone else’s home. Below you will find tips to ease SOME of the stress with hosting overnight guests as well as preparing guests for your arrival. Preparation will be your best friend when it comes to planning, packing, and making sure everyone involved is aware that babies and toddlers may not deal with change in routine as well as some adults may want them to!
Although it may feel strange to tell people who aren’t your children what to do, having house guests enter your home when you have small children is challenging! Often times these guests forget or are unaware of what children do, what they sound like, and how curious they can be with new things. When asking your guests to “baby proof” themselves, it may be best to put it in a way that makes them see why it is important for your child’s safety, like your child’s tendency to put anything he finds on the floor in his mouth.
- If your guests have concerns about your children getting into their things, offer them a room that has a door that can be closed during the day. If this is not possible, remind them to keep their makeup, electronics, perfume, etc. packed in their suitcase when they are not being used.
- Remind guests before they arrive what time your child naps and goes to sleep so they understand your general schedule and “quiet times”.
- Ask guests to only take medication over the sink in the bathroom, just in case any drop.
- Include your guests in your child’s routines. Have your cousin feed the baby while your aunt plays with the toddler. This will give your guests the opportunity to bond with your kids while they participate in the things they do on a daily basis.
Being the Guest
Be prepared to lose some control over your plans and routines when visiting someone else’s home. Remember, routines are great, but one week off of your plan will not ruin all of your hard work. Be flexible and understanding of the other people involved in your trip. With that being said, here are some ideas for incorporating the basics of your home-based routine to give your child a sense of normalcy.
- Alert your hosts well in advance when your children typically nap and go to sleep at night. That way, they will know what to expect in regards to when you will need to be home and when to plan events or outings. You can expect some give and take with exact sleeping times, but this can at least ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Don’t be surprised if your child’s eating habits are thrown off while away from home. Some kids will suddenly expand and eat a lot of new foods in this new environment, and others will refuse anything they are not familiar with. If you anticipate your child will have some trouble with meal time, plan to go to the store and stock up on foods you KNOW your child will eat. Offer what is being eaten by everyone else, but don’t push it. Some kids can only take so many new things at once!
- Are your kids used to napping in complete silence? Will this be impossible while away from home? You may want to look into a white noise machine, nature sounds CD, or placing a fan in the room your child will be sleeping to try to drown out the noise of other guests.
- Some hosts forget how good kids can be at getting into things that they aren’t supposed to… like grandma’s favorite candy dish or Uncle Jim’s hand-made wooden clock. While it wouldn’t be polite to tell the host what to do, you could say something like, “James is getting very adventurous and can grab anything off of tables or TV stands. He likes to pull books off of shelves and puts pretty much everything in his mouth! If there is anything you don’t want him to grab or would be unsafe for him to handle, it would be best to put it up high or away while we are there. I would feel terrible if he ruined any of your belongings.” Here, you will be preparing them for what your child is currently doing and giving them ideas on ways to protect their decorations while keeping your child safe.
Routines will be different when away from home. Don’t get stuck on trying to replicate every part of your life at home, however, keeping a general skeleton of mealtimes and nap times can help you stay at least a bit more sane while giving your baby something familiar!
By: Casey Waugh