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Thread: What do you expect when people come visiting?

  1. #1
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    What do you expect when people come visiting?

    When visitors come and bring young children what do you expect of the parents?
    Let's say you are fond of the kids.

    How much help would the parents be in your house:

    cooking
    cleaning up
    entertaining their own kids
    planning events
    bringing food etc.

    etc/

    edited to add that the household the family is coming too is two middle aged adults with no kids living there.


    for a visit of 5 or 6 days

    I am trying to figure out what is reasonable to expect from visitors
    Last edited by kally; 7-29-11 at 10:02pm.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mrs. Hermit's Avatar
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    I usually do all the cooking, but cheerfully accept help with the Clean-up! I expect the parents to clean up after the kids if they make a mess--pick up toys, etc. I usually apprise the parents of what kiddie entertainment options I have available, like toys, crayons, projects, etc; but the kids remain the parents' responsibility. So if the parents decide we need a hiking break to entertain the kids, I will help them plan, but won't do it for them. I try to have very flexible plans when kids are involved. It seems to make things work better.
    Mrs. Hermit

  3. #3
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    For us, it all depends on whether or not WE have young children too. When we all had young children, guests and hosts, we took turns--one or more adults watched the kids while the others helped get the dinner set out and the dishes done, etc. Nobody really got a break, since the kids needed watching at all times, and there was plenty of work to go around.

    But if the hosts don't have young children, and the guests do, it depends on the friendship, I suppose. With our closest friends, when we had a third baby, and they had stopped at two kids, it was wonderful (for me) to have, for example, the two dads watch the baby, while I got a chance to help the cook (my best female buddy) and so forth. It didn't matter if they were visiting us, or we were visiting them. Helping each other was the point. Everything was discussed in terms of who could do what, taking into account the baby's nap schedule, what the other kids were capable of, who enjoyed the kids and who didn't..... there was never really an issue. Another one of my friends came stay with her baby, after mine were older, and I loved being able to hold the baby and amuse her toddler for her while she took a luxurious bath, something she hadn't been able to do for weeks, as her husband was deployed and she had few friends who weren't as beleaguered as she was.

    Basically, I'd expect guests to behave like the good friends they are! And if they aren't good friends, I'm not having them stay as guests.

  4. #4
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    I've never had someone with small children stay longer than a weekend, but in any case, I've expected them to keep an eye on their kids-unlike my sister in law who read books instead, and the kids spilled 1/2 gallon of paint on brand new rugs. I didn't find this for a couple of days, as it was behind a door. If the kids are picky eaters or only eat particular foods , I expect the parents to bring that along instead of expecting me to make a special trip for it when they arrive. I don't expect them to cook, but bringing a dessert or a snack to share is always nice. I only expect them to clean up after their kids. I expect them to at least make an effort to keep their kids from destroying my house and not mind if I speak up about my house rules ("we do not jump on the couch in this house" "we use markers only on paper, not on the walls" ). While I'm happy to incorporate food allergies or strong preferences, the visit will not consist solely of kid foods, I draw the line at serving chicken nuggets for supper.

  5. #5
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    well that is a good point, how long do visitors with children usually stay with you. Family or friends with youngish kids?

  6. #6
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    Expect to be disappointed and be heppy if your expectations are exceeded. It is not easy for adults to visit for 5-6 days let alone a family with small kids.

    Make as sure as possible your adult house is child proofed. Understand that your noise levels and patience will be severely tried and that you need to expect this.

    If they have not visitedyour area before with kids, have a large list of available things to do with times and costs. It is ok to decide ahead of time what you are going to provide and let them know when they get there. Such as a general plan a "we thought you would enjoy....... " kind of a conversation. It will open up a conversation about their expectations and plans. Then changes and compromises can be written down.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Miss Cellane's Avatar
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    I would set up some ground rules with the parents ahead of time.

    I'm single. I live alone. I have very, very little that would be entertaining to kids, so I'd tell the parents that. And ask them to bring books, toys, DVDs, etc. to keep the kids occupied. No matter how many sightseeing trips you make, there's always that hour before dinner or after lunch that needs to be filled.

    As for food, I'd expect to provide all the food, unless someone in the family has very specific dietary requirements--I have no problem cooking for a vegetarian, but frankly don't want to even try cooking for someone who is allergic to gluten, say, because I'd be afraid I'd mess up somehow and make them sick. If the kids need certain snacks, I'd expect the parents to provide those. However, most of the house guests I've had do buy doughnuts or bagels or the like for breakfasts frequently.

    As for cooking, as host, I'd expect to cook. I'd also expect one of the adults to offer to help clean up.

    In my family, it's usual for the guests to take the host family out to dinner one night, or if the ages of the kids means that a restaurant is not a good choice, to buy food and prepare a meal for the hosts.

    Sometimes having the parents keep the kids occupied and out of the kitchen before meals is the best way they can contribute to meal preparation.

    As for plans, I'd have a few potential things lined up, but would want input from the parents as to how long the kids can reasonably be expected to behave at certain venues, and how much time they need just to run around and burn off energy.

    House rules--I'd make these clear to the kids and parents from the start. No juice outside the kitchen except in sippy cups. No jumping on the couch. No outdoor voices while inside. The parents should be enforcing these rules for you.

    There are a lot of web sites with fun and educational games for kids. I have a guest account set up on my computer just for my nieces and nephews, with several sites bookmarked. They can't download anything, they can't get to certain more "adult" web sites (their mom doesn't want them on YouTube at all). The computer gives them one more thing to keep them busy--their dad is in IT, so they play on computers all the time at home. My big problem is enforced equal turns on the computer.

  8. #8
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    would these visitors guidelines be the same if it was family visiting with kids?

  9. #9
    Mrs-M
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    Love this topic! I have so much to add and say. Gee oh gee, where to start... Common sense/common rules/common courtesy. As for all else, make yourself at home (sort of thing). The option of accommodating company in our home (more or less) came to an end after our third was born. (Small house, no spare room, more than enough already going on, yada-yada).

    Still, when company (both expected and unexpected) dropped by and stayed overnight, whether it be one or several nights, I did the cooking (and cleaning), and entertainment came by way of a concerted effort on the part of my husband and I. One thing I did sort of expect was, additional help from the woman/mother of the guest family. (I really do/did expect that much). i.e. Helping out where they could/can. I never expected much, but... (Company was always good about that although). No complaints in that department.

    As for having children myself, our home has always been kid-friendly/baby-proof, so I was never on edge when company had little ones, but I did expect all (children) to behave and conduct themselves accordingly, and to my set house rules, and if/when someone veered off course from that (and they did), I was always there to correct them and set them straight if the mother failed to do so. Again, I have no complaints in this department either. The parents were always good about keeping their children in line. (And yet one more of the "expects" I expected).

    In our family (immediate and extended) the men tend to take up residence in area they claim as being theirs, and we women (along with our kids) tend to do the same. It's a happy balance that has worked since the dawn of time in our family.

    As for the little things, like showering/bathing/waking in the morning, etc, I left that free and open. i.e. (Whatever strikes your fancy type thing). I'm an early riser (by nature), but being the mother of six little joys, early rising has become second nature to me, so it wasn't unheard of for me to play mom to all the children in our home (and in other peoples homes when we were visiting) when it came to mornings. That included (when it applied), changing diapers (both on my own children and on visiting charges, or, the charges under the roof of the home we were visiting/staying at), preparing bottles (for those still on a bottle), etc. I like to think of that aspect of my contribution as being a good host/guest. All in a day's work is/was my adage.

    As for outings, we'd usually do one dinner out over the course of guest stays, always keeping things simple and at home (for simplicity sake). i.e. We usually had little ones, so venturing out as one large clan would have been a logistical nightmare! (Separate vehicles, kids crying, parents stressed). No thanks.

    One problematic area worth mentioning that we always seemed to encounter when guests were ready to depart, was having to tell them, "no, we don't want anything from you". (They always felt the need to offer cash). DH and I were never offended by such offers, but when one opens the door of their home to others, I do think it's expected that all things home related are free of charge and for the taking). At least I like to think that's how it works.

    As a closing note, I always enjoyed the newness of visitors in our home when we used to host guests. Days spent talking, sharing, evenings spent socializing outside, the lot of us relaxing on lawn chairs around the barbecue, laughing, telling, living. (Always a sense of warmness). But I will admit, I was always happy to wave goodbye to visiting family/company. Being able to pull things back together again felt so good, cleaning up/catching up, and revisiting normality once again, the way it was prior to company. A sign of our own set ways (no doubt).

  10. #10
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    great post mrs m. Did you, or anyone else, have a mom who did very little to help? How did you handle that?

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