When guests stay too long, my kiddos get overwhelmed. And I do too! I love my friends and family, but we can only handle short visits. By short I mean a few hours. Maybe four hours tops, but that’s pushing it. We enjoy having guests over. Barbecuing. Swimming. Watching Movies. Dinner parties. Playdates. You name it. But what do you do when your guests won’t leave?
You know what I’m talking about. The people that bring a tent, ice chest, and pajamas as if it’s an overnight event. What?!?! Where was the memo that you were moving in? Help!
Plan Ahead so Your Kids Aren’t Drained
- Meet at a neutral spot. If you know this friend is the one that parks her family in your living room for days, then plan to meet at the park. Or mall playground. Or anywhere else. Keep the door open for you to depart at any time!
- Have a set time. If you set a predetermined time, everyone can fit the play date or activity into their schedule. Keep feelings from being hurt when it’s time to bail, because they’re expecting your departure.
- State your plans upfront. Make sure to verbally confirm you’re leaving at a set time and have prior commitments at a certain time. Even if that prior commitment is a nap. Stick to your plan!
- Leave before exhaustion. I can’t tell you how many times I have regretted not packing up a kiddo and going when I see the signs of exhaustion. Are they fighting with their friends or becoming agitated? Yawing? Rubbing their eyes? Get out of dodge. Stop what you’re doing and go.
- Take breaks. If you’ve committed to a long period of time, then take breaks. Often. Whatever your kiddos need to rejuvenate, do it so that they don’t pass the point of no return. Snacks are always good.
- Politely ask them to leave. Yes, it’s the obvious, but it’s hard. If your guests stay too long and have settled into your home like they’re ready to hibernate for the winter, you don’t want to offend them. I’m usually so happy they’ve come over, the last thing I want to do is ask them to leave. BUT, once my kids start asking to go in another room by themselves to veg, I know that they need their space.
- See them more often. Sometimes we really have to make the effort to see others more and not just talk to them on social media! If we see them more often, they don’t feel the need to stretch play dates into eternity. It’s like trying to cram an entire vacation into one day.
Respect the Sensory System!
I always refer to Lindsey Biel’s book Sensory Processing Challenges: Effective Clinical Work With Kids & Teens. When our kiddos sensory systems aren’t respected, they shut down and it takes a long time to recover. If your guests stay too long, that is not respecting your teens sensory system. Setting boundaries is healthy for you, for your friends and family, and for your teens.