Don’t want to have a Gracious Host meltdown? Hosting kids as overnight Houseguests? It requires patience, planning, and your active participation. Parents are exhausted, desperately need a break, so if you invite kids as overnight Houseguests, plan on entertaining them or they will run wild, and you will no loose your Gracious Host cool.
First, Send The Parents Away – Kids are better behaved when parents are not around.
Create A Plan and A Schedule – Keep the Plan a secret until the parents leave, ignore the whining, eye rolling, complaining, and stay positive — it’s just a couple of hours, buck up, you can do this. Announce the Schedule, so the kids will know what to expect – it’s like school, kids like schedules. You need outdoor time, fun time, clean up time, food, and much needed downtime or quiet time. Get the kids to help you with the food — they love to cook, but keep it simple and no sharp knives.
Think Like a Teacher – You have to be involved, you can’t just give the kids a new craft or coloring book, turn on the TV, or let them play on their iPhones and expect them to have fun. Don’t be offended – they’ll complain and say this is boring, ignore it. As a Gracious Host, you are just trying to survive for a couple of hours and give their parents a break.
Protect Your House – Buy a reusable plastic tablecloth and put old newspapers down over the tablecloth for a quick clean up. Nice rugs or floors – cover them too. When it’s cleanup time, get the kids to sweep, if they’re like my kids I bet they’ve never done that before!
Basic Supplies – Start collecting glue sticks, kid scissors, colored paper, white paper, colored pencils, washable markers, left over wrapping paper, ribbon, buttons, string, fabric swatches, gift bags, gift boxes, ribbon, lots of tape, a stapler and staples, and recycle gift boxes or bags. Give the kids some supplies and see what you can make together.
Get The Kids Outside – Flashlight Night Walk – Give each child a flash light and off you go. Scavenger Walk – Give each child a bag, a list of different things to find, and go for a walk. Run or walk off some of that energy.
Crafts – Don’t break the crafts out all at once because the kids will rip through them in no time. Friendship Bracelets, Paracord Survival bracelets, Pom-poms, Key Chains, Holiday Ornaments, Origami, Paper Dolls, Play Dough, Sock Puppets or Pipe Cleaner Sculptures are good crafts. Recycled boxes of different shapes, containers, paper towel tubes, skewers, straws, string, ribbon can be used to create a town or park. Let the kids use their imagination. Here’s an amusement park we made with recycled items.
Dance Party – Buy a inexpensive Disco Ball Light, or anything that glows in the dark, turn out the lights, and dance. If you dance, the kids will think this is hilarious and will join in.
Vintage Board Games – Most families are too busy to play board games, so this is a novelty, kids too young – pair them up with an older buddy. Monopoly, Retro Scrabble, Bananagrams, Clue, Risk, or Candyland are a few fun classics. If you don’t already have these games – they’re not too expensive to buy.
Do you have other kid friendly entertaining tips, contact me. I’d love to hear from you.