Hosting Stay-over Guests When You Have a Toddler & Crazy Schedule

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.

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 entertaining stay-over guests with a toddler.

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.

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 entertaining stay-over guests with a toddler.

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.

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 entertaining stay-over guests with a toddler.

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) ๐Ÿ˜†

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).

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 entertaining stay-over guests with a toddler.

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?

If you liked this post check out Packing All the Toddler Things For a Day Out and Things To Do With Baby: Boston

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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 entertaining stay-over guests with a toddler.
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 entertaining stay-over guests with a toddler.

About Melissa

Hi, Iโ€™m Melissa! I am a mama to my baby Aiden Milo (born November 2015), and a police wife to my husband Dan. I started this blog because, after having Aiden, I quickly learned that exhaustion and baby brain causes you to forget some of the er-lovely (sometimes horrible and sometimes wonderful) details related to the first several months of raising a baby. Considering we may have more kids in the future, I want to document everything we do, so we remember what worked the first time around, and hopefully help other first time mamas along the way!
  • Jennifer Seislove

    Great list! I don’t have a toddler anymore but with 3 kids and a puppy, this is still helpful. I find it totally overwhelming to have house guests at times…thanks for the tips!

    • Melissa

      Yes, I am sure your house is really busy! It’s good to know these tips are still relevant for older kids ๐Ÿ™‚

  • catloverd

    After having our baby, we stopped allowing guests to stay in the house for some of these reasons. I already have to tend to a baby, I don’t need to be tending to others needs as well. Now if it’s family, that’s different, but they often are coming to see the baby, not to explore, so it’s a bit different. We also don’t live in a tourist area like D.C. The most exciting place near us is Mall of America, lol!

    • Melissa

      That’s a good point. If you are not open to having people around it’s not a good idea to let them stay. I will say, I have always wanted to see Mall of America haha!

  • Thank you for sharing this! I don’t have kids myself but I always felt intrusive when I wanted to hang out with my friends who DO have kids. I know they want us to still come over but then I get the sense that they are worried about being a burden.

    • Melissa

      Amanda, that is so true! As a mom I do stress a bit when my friends without kids come over because I still want them to have a good time and I worry my little guy might be too intense (he LOVES new people). I think communication is the best way to make everyone feel comfortable!

  • Lori Hawkins Jackson

    Setting clear expectations is a huge deal! I always love being the guest when our host has littles. I miss that stage of life and so it is fun to step back in time, but there are things I’ve forgotten about. So, talking through what your guest can expect is perfect!

    • Melissa

      Hi Lori, that’s a great perspective about being the guest! There are some people who love having little kids around and some that aren’t so excited about it; however, if you are expecting a kid free time my house is probably not the place for you! LOL

  • Jiya B

    I loved reading the post thanks for sharing. Yes you cannot expect your guest to baby sit your kid. I agree with the points you shared here.

    • Melissa

      Thank you! Baby sitting is one way to ensure the guest will not come back lol

  • Erin

    Thank you so much for all these tips! It can be so stressful to host, but this was all super helpful!

    • Melissa

      Thank you, Erin. I am glad it was helpful for you!

  • Chevelle

    Great tips! I especially love the one about letting the guest know about your schedule. Communication is key and this gets everyone on the same board. Wish I had thought of that sooner

    • Melissa

      Thank you Chevelle! I agree it is a simple way to help guests feel more prepared about what to expect.

  • Shawna Morrison

    These are some great tips!! I have a a toddler that will be two in a month and I get absolutely petrified of people come by to stay lol. Not because she’s bad, but because she just requires a lot of attention. Lol probably more than my guests would like to give! Thank you for this!

    • Melissa

      Yes! I feel the same way. Whenever we have someone “new” it’s like a novelty for my little guy so he just wants to play with them! I think it can be intense which is why we stick to our child care and try to give our guests some time to unwind lol

  • Jessica Battiato

    Such good advice! Haha I am always crossing my fingers our guests will want to spend time with the kids to give us a break!! I try not to expect it though! It’s so hard to juggle kids and keep a clean house! Thanks for sharing! XO

    • Melissa

      Jessica, that’s very true! That’s why managing expectations is a must. I warn all my guests not to expect a clean house lol

  • Jenni Petrey

    These are all really good tips. Due to my children’s needs we’ve had to put a stop to people staying with us, becomes way too crazy.

    • Melissa

      Hi Jenni, that is a great point. Sometimes house guests just aren’t possible.

  • Alicia Trautwein

    These are some really great tips. We do have to get a little creative as two of our four have special needs that require a strict bedtime routine, but we make it work.