17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

House Rules

Yesterday I babysat 3 kids--2, 5, and 10 years old. They had a great time with my kids. We went to the library, played ball in the back yard, had a snack, watched a movie, the works. But it was high energy, high maintainance. And when dinner rolled around I expected the friends to go by my house rules for dinner.

Namely, don't complain about your food, eat it (or at least try it), stay in your seat until excused, and generally be polite. I made sure to tell them I expected politeness etc., because I've had them for dinner before. Wow. What a struggle. It was as though I had not said anything of what I expected of them...kids were complaining, running around, not eating, etc. We stuck by our rules and continued to insist they remain seated. I reminded them about being polite about what they were served as I kept hearing "yuck". And I thought I had served a kid-friendly dinner. Sigh. I gave my own kids 2 nilla wafers for eating all their dinner. I wasn't going to give the others any but I started feeling like that was too mean so I gave them 1 each for eating a little of their rice. (Definitely bending house rules.)

So, when you are watching someone else's kids what do you expect of them? Do they have to eat their veggies? At least try a bite of what you serve? Are you easy on them since they're guests? What about non-meal time? Have you had to be firm? Would you ever put a friend's kid in time-out the way you would your own child?


  • When I have other kids over, my only expectation is survival.

    No, really, I would expect them to be polite and behave themselves. I wouldn't expect them to be familiar with any rules that are particular to our family but not typical as a rule (everyone wears orange shirts at dinnertime, etc.), but basic courtesy and politeness? Absolutely.

    I would put visiting kid in time-out for really outrageous behavior - hitting, being very rude, etc. Little stuff though, I would just correct them so that my own kids realized it still was not acceptable behavior, but I wouldn't worry too much about it. I'm not their parent and probably won't be able to change their behavior in one dinner session. A long term visit? They would have to learn our rules.
    posted by Blogger Sue at 9/27/2007 08:51:00 AM  

  • I just had my dearest friend and her kids stay with us for a week and it was tough concerning the kids. Her rules definitely differ from mine, but since she was here, she handled most of the discipline. The times she wasn't around, I had no problem getting after her kids for not following basic rules--disobeying a specific request from me, fighting over toys, etc. I don't use time outs a ton, so that wasn't an issue for me. And if they didn't want to at least try what was fixed for a meal, they just went hungry--I'm a meanie!
    posted by Blogger colds1 at 9/27/2007 09:00:00 AM  

  • It depends on the behavior. I have babysat a friend's four children numerous times, (not any more though b/c they just kill me), and on the first visit they were fist fighting and smacking each other around. My only method of survival has been to sit between them all on the couch and watch them in time-out until the mom returns.

    Basically I try and never babysit for free, (for some reason it weeds out the moms with the horrendous children), and if I do babysit I absolutely expect respect; at the dinner table, or just in play time.

    I also try and set myself up for success by only babysitting if it works for my child's schedule; meaning--I never babysit during nap time. My own can't sleep when that happens and we all know what happens when kids don't nap!!
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 9/27/2007 09:23:00 AM  

  • I expect my kids to follow the house rules when they are at someone else's house and I expect other kids to follow our house rules.

    I have NO problem with my friends putting my kids in time out if they deserve it. I usually watch the children of close friends and I know they don't have a problem with me enforcing the rules in my house. The kids don't have to eat what I serve, but I'm not changing what I'm serving either. One of my proudest moments was getting my BFF's little girl to eat two green beans.

    The key is I trust my friends with my kids, I trust their judgment. It takes a village, as the saying goes.
    posted by Blogger Azúcar at 9/27/2007 01:33:00 PM  

  • I have watched my friends kids many times-and I have no problem putting other kids in timeout if their behavior warrants it. I would expect them to put my kids in timeout too...but I definitely give them an extra warning because they are in a different place, situation, etc.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 9/27/2007 04:08:00 PM  

  • I agree with Azucar and 2nd anonymous.

    Kids need to learn to respect other rules, anyway. I mean, honestly, they're going to grow up and see that not everything is "like home".

    P.S. Katie, I think you did good. If it was me, I would have told the 10 year old and 5 year old to just suck it up and knock it off. Nicely, of course. :)
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 9/27/2007 06:47:00 PM  

  • I agree with azucar completely. I really believe it takes a village/city! to raise a child and I hope that no matter where my children are, people are helping them to be better children. I think kids need to learn to listen to different authority figures and adapt to different rules. That is just life. I think you handled it fine. And I;'m with you - I am not short-order cook no matter who the customer is.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 9/27/2007 09:01:00 PM  

  • Yeah, you seemed to hit my follow up question, what do you expect of your kids at other people's houses. Seems like we're on the same page. I think getting after other people's kids made me feel like the mean lady. But you can't let it get too chaotic just cuz they're not your own kids. But yes, to Sue's point, I've had some times where it's just survival. I also seem to be less picky about meal behavior at lunch too. Just eat a few bites and go play.
    posted by Blogger Katie at 9/29/2007 07:17:00 AM  

  • I think it is absolutely okay to discipline other children especially if your kids are watching...
    posted by Blogger Zinone at 10/12/2007 06:29:00 PM  

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