Help a Mom (or Dad) Out When hosting a parent with kids this holiday season, here are some tips
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. There’s no such thing as a vacation when you’re traveling with young children. There are so many logistics to manage that most parents don’t ever truly relax.
With the holidays fast approaching, you may even be privy to the chaos of a traveling family. If the spirit of generosity so moves you, why not try to make parents’ lives a little less chaotic this holiday season?
None of these ideas are required (or even expected), but all are very much appreciated.
Ask About Schedules
Structure and predictability are essential to keeping meltdowns at bay. Unfortunately, most of that goes out the window when traveling. Time zone changes and over-stimulation prevent parents from sticking to a routine, which can lead to cranky, overtired kiddos.
To help, ask Mom or Dad about their schedules, including wake-up, meals, snacks, NAPS, bath, and bedtimes.
Create a Quiet Space
Being around lots of new (or infrequent) faces, coupled with the hustle and bustle of a holiday celebration, can be A LOT for a little one. Having a quiet space to decompress, or perhaps have a short rest, helps kids and parents get back into “holiday-mode.” While separate rooms are excellent, they aren’t always practical. As long as it’s dedicated to quiet (and everyone agrees to this rule), you can make it work for just about any space.
Offer to Take a Shift
I can’t express how nice it is to have someone offer to watch the kids (often so I can catch a short nap). Depending on your family dynamic, offering to watch the kids is a welcome gift for many a tired parent.
So, you offered to watch the kids? Thank you, but please, PLEASE, I beg you to follow through. Unless the parents have said, “No thanks,” (which they are entitled to do), check back in. Many would love to take you up on your offer but can’t commit to a specific time right at that moment because…kids. And then we forget or feel awkward bringing it up again later.
Research Things To Do Beforehand
Keeping kids entertained without a screen is basically a full-time job. When your guests are from out of town, it gets even trickier.
Even if you don’t know all of the age-appropriate activities nearby, doing the Googling for parents beforehand is incredibly helpful.
Childproof the Basics
Anything breakable and sentimental, you should tuck away while the kids are there. As the mom of a toddler, I can assure you we do our best to keep constant eyes on them. But if you wanted to cap a few outlets or lock up the cleaning supplies, it sure would help (because toddlers are quicker than they look).
Let’s face it. It’s really fun to have kids over, especially if they aren’t around often. However, we all have different theories and opinions on what’s best for our kids. With that in mind, please respect parenting decisions even if they don’t quite line up with your own. It makes for less stress and better family dynamics.
Tell Them They’re Awesome (Because they are)
Parenting is hard. Parenting when you’re out of your element is even harder. And we’re all trying our absolute best. It’s such a pick-me-up to hear that we’re doing a good job, especially when the going gets tough.
Katie Carrick lives in Beaverton with her husband, two young children, and their yappy but loveable dog, Mendel. She’s a former clinical scientist who now works as a freelance writer. For more information visit mkcontentcreation.com.