Gurpreet Randev: Bollywood Babies


How To Help Your Children Survive Houseguests

Enjoy A Wonderful Visit By Following A Few Child-Friendly Rules

How to survive having houseguests

This has been an insanely busy month for us. We spent the first two weeks visiting family in Calgary and these last two weeks are going to be spent with family visiting us from overseas. To say the least, this has been quite the change of pace from our usual routine. I’d say it has been especially challenging for my two daughters who naturally, like most young children, fare better with their normal routines.

Being a houseguest or having houseguests can both be equally hard on children. It can disrupt their schedules and throw their small worlds into disarray. However, I’ve found that there are ways to minimize the negative effects so that everyone involved can enjoy the experience and have a great time. Because I’ve been sticking to a few houseguest rules, my children are having an incredible time with friends and family with only minor hiccups:

  • Stick as closely as possible to nap and bedtime routines. Children need rest and sleep! This is absolutely non-negotiable. There are no ifs, ands, or buts. My children are a terror when they’re tired so I try to make sure they get their naps in and enough sleep at night no matter what we’re up to. If I know that we’re going to be out of the house, I try to schedule the longer drives around naptime so that they can still get some shut-eye.
  • Eat healthy, balanced meals. When there’s a lot going on, it can be very difficult to get children to sit down for proper meals but I find it’s so important. My older daughter hates to eat as it is and it becomes even harder when there are a lot of people around to distract her. However, I try to make sure she gets at least three healthy meals a day because there is a definite difference in her disposition when she doesn’t. Sugar and fast food are frenemies that don’t mix well with my daughter so I try my hardest to avoid them. Not to mention the fact that a hungry child is a cranky child.
  • Get them involved. My daughter loves to ‘plan’ our days with guests. She picks which snacks we will take with us, helps pack the bags we need, gathers together some toys for her baby sister. I find that as long as she is a part of the decision-making and organization, she’s much more excited and likely to cooperate with the day’s activities.
  • Maintain some routine in the day. Even when we have a thousand things going on and guests to entertain, I try to keep a semblance of normalcy. I find that just a few minutes of her regular, everyday activities helps to keep my daughter grounded and tantrum-free. Reading a book, putting together a small puzzle, blowing bubbles outside. Anything that that allows me to spend alone time with her so she doesn’t feel abandoned nor ignored while providing for some sense of stability.
  • Accept that they’re going to get spoiled. When we’re visiting family, I fully realize that my daughters are going to be indulged more than I’d like but I let it go. Whether this means my youngest isn’t going to be put down the entire visit or my oldest is going to get more candy than she needs, there are some things I just have to turn a blind eye to. Family visits and vacations are about having a good time, even if it means my children will get away with far more than I’d like.

As long as I am able to accommodate my children, there is nothing I enjoy more than family gatherings and spending time with the people I love. With just a little bit of thoughtful planning, everyone can have a wonderful time, including my young daughters.

What are some of your tips to managing your children during family and friend visits?