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Innkeeping, BnB kids, and other peoples' kids

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Red Handed Jill

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Okay, I'm specifically hoping for some innsight from those of you who, like us, are doing this with kids. But always happy to hear from all corners

<sigh> Okay, I've said before, my kids get it. We've spent so many nights in hotels, they know sometimes, you just HAVE to be quiet. If you leave that red truck in the yard, mama's gonna freak so just DON'T. Guests can't trip on matchbox cars...and any guest areas are OFF LIMITS (our kids are quite young).
But our neighbor's kids don't.
Came downstairs after showing guests to a room to find little Johnny in the living room. He knocked, saw the front door was open (screen door closed), and came in calling for me. He did stand in the room and wait for me to arrive. I took care of his business and sent him on his way, and then thought - WHAT if I hadn't been on property? Really - let's face it - most guests are strangers to us. And I really have no control if a guest leaves the front door open on a nice day. I had a little talk with Johnny's mother after about strangers in our house - I hope she spoke to him about it.
Next scenario: fairly nice kids in the neighborhood, but who don't get the whole "don't disturb the guests" thing and who actually don't get the whole "do what the adult in charge tells you" thing.
Because I believe these children are not malicious, just have not had the benefit of <ahem> guidance in behaving around others, I have allowed them here to play with my kids my direct attention. But I recently have banned them, along these lines, "So-and-so can't come over on today, or Wednesday, or Thursday, and you can't go there, and they can't come Friday or Saturday or Sunday, either. Maybe Monday!" </bright cheerfulness> I finally had to explain to my oldest that until these other kids learn to respect others, adults in general, and other people's property (yes - NOTHING like defending the flower beds during what should be outdoor free - as in un-adult-interfered - play), they cannot come over.
Am I missing something? My kids know what these kids are like, so there has been no argument. I think the fact that I allowed for the possibility of the neighbor children actually learning how to behave gave my kids some hope...but good grief, I don't know when I'll be ready to give them a chance.
I have to be very tactful about how I handle this. It's not just about my kids and their friends...it's about having a business in a small town, and all these kids have parents. Right now, I feel I have to find a tactful way to both protect my home/business and my guests, and not offend my neighbors (and town figures) over the Lord of the Flies behavior of their children.
Thoughts? Have any of you been here? Yellow Socks, I know your boys are right in the same age range as mine right now. I also know others of you have been where I am now. Sure would appreciate some feedback.
 

Alibi Ike

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No little ones at home right now, but having a business and having a home should not necessarily mean that children should behave differently in either case. What I mean- when my kids had friends over (and when they went somewhere) the rules were the rules. If the rules were that you are not to (whatever) then you didn't or you went (or were sent) home. Yes, there is always the house where anything goes and the one where you had to take your shoes off and wash your hands before you could touch anything, but those were the rules. (Heck, we have guests here who trample the flowers or drive across the lawn and now I know what they were like as kids!)
Your rules may be slightly 'tougher' because you are trying to provide a vacation to strangers. But, you might just as well have an ailing parent who does not want to hear the screaming of small children. If certain days at your house are designated 'no friends' then maybe those are the days your kids can go visiting at their friend's houses. I know things are different now than when I was a kid but my parents didn't see me during the day except at meals or if it was raining. We were gone, all day. Outside, at someone else's house, wherever.
Because your kids get it you shouldn't feel it necessary to train the neighborhood, but it sure as heck ain't gonna hurt those other kids to learn how to behave at someone else's house, no matter how tough or loose the rules are!
Definitely all the neighbor kids need to know that they must wait on the porch until the door is opened by a family member. This said without scaring the beejeezus out of the parents with, 'We just don't know WHO these people are that we let into our home,'
 

gillumhouse

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It has been long enough ago that I honestly do not remember if I told the friends the rules or my kids conveyed the rules to their friends - they just knew they were welcome at our house but there was to be no swearing, rough & tumble, or misbehaving.
In our house Dad's hobby was a secret that NO ONE told because if it was to become common knowledge we would be sugject to being robbed. The kids "got it" and even in middle school when it seemed important to impress buddies with what you knew and what you did, our middle son came home and told his Dad one of his friends was bragging about something he had done with his uncle but, "I didn't say anything Dad. I knew he did not know what he was talking about, but i did not say anything." This was an Illinois problem - in West Virginia no one even thinks about it or would brag because it is standard.
It is wonderful that your kids get it and understand. Just establish the "house rules" and enforce them because it is YOUR house. Whether you are a business or just a residence, no one should feel it is OK to just walk in - those days ended 50 years ago. And there should be no problem with you informing any child who did that, "We do not just walk into someone's house. You must wait outside until one of my kids or I come to the door to let you in." That is one of the rles of your house. I would keep it between the kids and me regarding the "rules of the house" and only contact the parents if there was damage or such unacceptable behavior the parents needed tp know about it. As we say about guests - OUR HOUSE - OUR RULES.
 

JBloggs

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RedJill, sorry I read it and know you are frustrated, can you give me a one line question? I will be happy to answer it. My kids just took our dog for a 2 hour walk and I had guests checking in and had no idea where they were and couldn't go search for them. (More on that later, nothing malicious or anything...)
 

birdwatcher

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One question-do you accept kids at your B & B? and I go with all the other parents-no we don't have any now but we had a B & B with teenagers and sometimes that was worse we just thank our lucky stars that we had two houses and rented rooms more in one than the other had one suite that we rented in the main house but when that happened the kids knew to just be more quiet and then my daughter had a baby and that was a whole other matter- we still had the other house but sometimes the suite was rented and the first night I asked if the baby kept them up and they said -not really once the house settled down for the night they didn't hear much-that was a thankful innkeeper I tell you. Of course after that we bring little baby out and they awwed and ooowed.
But like everyone said-your rules your house and we lock the front door here give a door key and room key to every guest-its just habbit, maybe you should designate the back door (if you have one) for everyone except guests so that the front door is just for guests and its always locked when they arrive and when they leave.
 

YellowSocks

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What they said. ^^
Yes, the rules are the rules, regardless.
We have a bunch of kids in the neighborhood... they don't come in our house, or at least, only rarely and only if their parents specifically know and I've specifically said yes. When other kids come in, they have to stay in the basement (which has plenty of toys and the GameCube) unless we have no guests. THEN they are allowed upstairs to the boys' room, which has the Legos. But NOT into the guest rooms, common areas, etc. But generally, if we have guests, then no friends in the house, and go play in the back yard. (They like to put a rope on a tree in the front yard, I don't know why, and I keep making them take it down.)
It probably helps that we have keypad entries and a side door that the guests don't use. The neighborhood kids generally get that they should knock at the side door (although they'll ring the front bell sometimes) and wait until I say mine can come out and play.
We have one kid, exact same age as mine are, who has never been in the house and the boys have been told they're not supposed to play in his. The yards are close enough that they can range between them, so there's no need to be inside either house. Discussions started when they were 5 about whether or not they should do the things this kid told them to do, or believe everything he says. He's not often around, which helps. But like they said, our kids have to learn our rules, and when they go to other houses, they abide by those rules.
Finally, we run heat and air most of the year, and generally keep the doors locked. When I check in guests I show them how to operate the door and tell them that it's a safe neighborhood in a safe town but I keep it locked so I don't get surprised.
Oh, and I've found that 7 year olds are waaaaaay noisier than 4 year olds. OTOH, they're also better at vacuuming!
=)
Kk.
 

agoodman

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Um LOCK THE DOOR so the neigbors kids wont come in???
 

Red Handed Jill

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Thanks all for the input.
Yes, I agree, my house my rules. In fact, I have explained that at your house things may be that way, which is fine because it's your parents' house, but at our house, thing are this way, because it's my house. And yes, children have been sent home. But for some - the issues continue.
agoodman said:
Um LOCK THE DOOR so the neigbors kids wont come in???
Sorry agoodman, I know you meant well, but you actually made me laugh out loud. You must have guests who are so good about closing - and locking - doors.

ACTUALLY - our family as a rule, doesn't even use the same door the guests do. We have a side door we use for personal guests and otherwise we use the back door. The neighbors know this. That child who let himself in knows to knock at the side door. I'm guessing he didn't get a response, so he just tried another door. Maybe he saw the guests come in.
To be fair, there are children we have had as personal guests who do get it and stay within our personal quarters once the boundaries have been clearly defined (as in, in your house, I know you go in all rooms, but our house is a business and certain areas <listed here> are only for paying guests).
We do accept children as BnB guests (provided they check in with paying parents).
JB: I guess I was looking for experiences from innkeeper parents who have BTDT. It's much more a parenting question than an innkeeping one, but all the parents I know who are also innkeepers are here.
For myself, I don't really want to risk alienating anyone with the basic message: My kids can play at your house, but your child is not permitted even in my yard because s/he is destructive and dismissive of my re-direction. At my house, it's not enough to respond in a polite and respectful sounding manner if you immediately return to whatever behavior I just said is not okay at our house (like running through flower beds, ripping out plants, and causing damage).
I'm not overreacting. Here's one example: One of my kids comes flying to tell me I need to get out front. Neighbor child is in front of the house with a giant rock hoisted up to his shoulder, about to heave it shot put style. I stopped him cold and asked what he was thinking. Very conversationally, no guile at all, he pointed out the bird nest in the shrub directly in front of the window, and said he wanted to know what was in that nest, so he was going to knock it down with the rock. First, I pointed out that the rock would have continued through the window, and then he would not only have been explaining the broken window to me, but also his daddy. Then, I told him to ASK, and I took him inside, escorted, showed him the nest, and escorted him back out. If it were just this one incident, I could laugh it off. But it's not.
 

Joey Camb

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Thanks all for the input.
Yes, I agree, my house my rules. In fact, I have explained that at your house things may be that way, which is fine because it's your parents' house, but at our house, thing are this way, because it's my house. And yes, children have been sent home. But for some - the issues continue.
agoodman said:
Um LOCK THE DOOR so the neigbors kids wont come in???
Sorry agoodman, I know you meant well, but you actually made me laugh out loud. You must have guests who are so good about closing - and locking - doors.

ACTUALLY - our family as a rule, doesn't even use the same door the guests do. We have a side door we use for personal guests and otherwise we use the back door. The neighbors know this. That child who let himself in knows to knock at the side door. I'm guessing he didn't get a response, so he just tried another door. Maybe he saw the guests come in.
To be fair, there are children we have had as personal guests who do get it and stay within our personal quarters once the boundaries have been clearly defined (as in, in your house, I know you go in all rooms, but our house is a business and certain areas <listed here> are only for paying guests).
We do accept children as BnB guests (provided they check in with paying parents).
JB: I guess I was looking for experiences from innkeeper parents who have BTDT. It's much more a parenting question than an innkeeping one, but all the parents I know who are also innkeepers are here.
For myself, I don't really want to risk alienating anyone with the basic message: My kids can play at your house, but your child is not permitted even in my yard because s/he is destructive and dismissive of my re-direction. At my house, it's not enough to respond in a polite and respectful sounding manner if you immediately return to whatever behavior I just said is not okay at our house (like running through flower beds, ripping out plants, and causing damage).
I'm not overreacting. Here's one example: One of my kids comes flying to tell me I need to get out front. Neighbor child is in front of the house with a giant rock hoisted up to his shoulder, about to heave it shot put style. I stopped him cold and asked what he was thinking. Very conversationally, no guile at all, he pointed out the bird nest in the shrub directly in front of the window, and said he wanted to know what was in that nest, so he was going to knock it down with the rock. First, I pointed out that the rock would have continued through the window, and then he would not only have been explaining the broken window to me, but also his daddy. Then, I told him to ASK, and I took him inside, escorted, showed him the nest, and escorted him back out. If it were just this one incident, I could laugh it off. But it's not..
A child like that should not be allowed in your yard/house/property for starters how your business looks is important and all of the above would cost money to put right as well as time and effort if the kid behaves in a similar way all the time it is not worth the hassel. plus do you want a child like that rubbing off on your child? who obviously has more scense of right and wrong.
 
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