Today I will be talking about hosting guests at your house. I remember when I was growing up…if we were bad under normal circumstances, we would get the “usual” punishment, but if we were bad when we had guests or were guests, the punishment was so much worse. I knew the second my mom made “that face…” I was doomed. I am laughing as I write this, just thinking about my parents and how mean I thought they were. A little fun turned into a lot of trouble pretty quickly.
Below are some basics for preparing your kids to host guests, whether it be their friends, out-of-town family, or your boss. The ideas here cover families with kids ranging from toddler to school age. Use the ideas that best apply to your family. While I understand that you have had guests in your home before now, a quick reminder is always nice on how to handle talking with your kids about hosting guests. If you are struggling in this area, now is the perfect time to institute some of the below before the holidays.
Obviously you want to let your children know that you are having guests. Start by telling them who is coming. If it is someone they do not know, tell them how you know this person. Talk to them about what it means to have guests. This means talking about the expectations of their behavior, including how they act, where they play, and what they say. If there are other kids coming remind them of the importance of sharing their toys. Give them feedback throughout the evening about how they are doing.
If you have followed this blog at all you should by now see a common theme: consistency. Above all else, the rules should not change no matter what. It ultimately does not matter who is at your house. If your kids break the rules, follow through with the usual punishment. Many parents, like mine, even increase the punishment when there are guests at the house. Ultimately, you want for people to feel welcomed and safe in your home. Keeping the same high expectations for behavior lets your children know that they cannot get away with unacceptable behavior when guests are over. I have turned down a few invitations to homes where I know that the kids are wild and the parents do nothing about it.
As always, get your kids involved in preparations for guests. If you are hosting out-of-town guests have them help clean rooms, make beds, and prepare meals. Kids love to show off their artwork. To keep them busy while you get ready, have them create pictures and clay sculptures to show off or give to your guests.
Guests come to your house to see you and your family. Make it easy for them during their visit by keeping routines and rules consistent. Talk with your kids before, during, and after, and give them feedback on how they did. Throw in special treats if they met or exceeded your expectations. Always involve them from start to finish. If they know the plan and how they fit in, they will have a great chance to live up to your expectations.
I am certain that all of you reading this will either have guests or be a guest this holiday season. Have fun!
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