The summer is always busy for us. We live about 30 minutes from Washington, DC so we always have people coming to visit so they can check out the sites. Additionally, it is usually a good time for members of my family to come visit from the North East. Those who visit and stay in our home are laid back and understanding about going with our flow because we have a young toddler, but we still want to show our guests a good time and sometimes it is fun to be a tourist in your own city. Here are our tips for hosting stay-over guests when you have a toddler and crazy schedule.
1. Manage expectations
It’s always a good idea when you are entertaining guests to make sure they are aware that toddlers are not always joyful fun people…they can have their moments. I always try to manage expectations and we are prepared to take Aiden home if anything unexpected pops up. This is when it’s really helpful to have laid back guests.
When we are at home Aiden is a great host himself and he loves to play with our guests so I like to warn anyone staying about that. He will expect a lot of attention, luckily most of our guests are more than OK with that! I am usually around translating Aiden talk to anyone staying so neither party gets frustrated.
2. Plan in advance
Will you take time off to visit with your guests? How much time are they expecting to spend with you? Are they hoping you will take them sight-seeing? These are all things you should plan before your guests get here. For us, we usually like to do all the sightseeing things so unless our guest(s) don’t want us around we plan to go.
We always take the must sees and make a plan for each day. We group like things together; for example, seeing the monuments and Smithsonian museums in one day, or heading out to Northern Virginia to wine country and farms.
3. Find out your guests’ ‘must sees’
If you have ever been to Washington, DC you probably know there is a ton to do. Not to mention that there is a lot to see outside of Washington, DC in Northern Virginia and Maryland. Most major cities are this way. Whenever we have someone coming in we find out exactly what they hope to see and try to make it a point to build time to see those things.
4. Find a happy medium
With a toddler we always need to find places that are kid friendly (luckily most things are); however, we try to make sure both our guests and Aiden will have fun wherever we go. We also have to make sure we aren’t packing too much in one day or completely overwhelming the little guy.
When we are home, we try to make sure our guests have some time to enjoy themselves without Aiden constantly bugging them.
5. Try to stick to your schedule
We try to stick to our routine as much as possible. When you are far away from home sightseeing can distrupt things. We try to make sure we get home for Aiden to take a nap (even if it’s a little later than usual) and that he still has his normal bed time routine.
I always let our guests know what our schedule and routine is. We have a toddler so we wake up early and go to bed early and unless we have a babysitter (which takes advance planning) one of us has to stay home. This means early dinners and nights at home. Aiden is used to everyone eating together at our kitchen table so even if we have a guest he will request that they sit with him, or play his fun food sharing game (aka offer food and then eat it when you try to grab it) 😆
Our schedules are also a little crazy because I work at home and Dan works the night shift, so although I may be home I am not necessarily available for entertaining. This is a good time for guests to have time for themselves especially since we might drop Aiden off a home care during this time (depending on who the guest is).
6. Don’t expect your guests to babysit (unless they want to)
As I mentioned above I work from home so three days a week we drop Aiden off at home care. I usually continue to do this when we have guests because it is part of his routine and I would never assume that the person coming to visit would want to babysit (even if I am in the house). Honestly, it would probably be even more stressful for me if I left Aiden with the guest that came to stay. There are times my mom has come that she specifically wants some extra time with Aiden so in that case, of course, I let her watch him, but otherwise I just continue to take him to home care.
7. Be OK with your guests not wanting to hang out with you and your toddler
Sometimes people come who want to hang out but also want to do their own thing. Maybe they need some toddler free time or just have things they want to do that you can’t. I always try to be as helpful as possible by suggesting places to go and ways to get there. I have even dropped guests off at the closest metro so they can do their thing.
There is no reason to not host guests just because you have a toddler. We have done it several times and I think we are successful becasue we include him in our life without letting him run our life. Being honest and open with guests about what staying at your home with your toddler means is usually the best way to go and helps manage expectations so that everyone has an enjoyable experience.
What are your tips for hosting stay-over guests with your toddler?