How To Host Kids in a Child-Free Home

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You love them, but there's just that deep down feeling of dread. "They're coming over...with their kids." How do you get ready for kids coming over when, really, your house just isn't kid-friendly? Here's our handy survival guide, in just five simple tips, on how to host kids in your usually kid-free home, and ensure a happy, safe experience for all.

1. Talk to the parents about what you'll need. Will the kids be eating dinner with you? Will they need non-breakable plates, bowls, cups, or child-sized cutlery? Will they need a booster chair for the dining table? If you don't have any of these: ask! Parents won't mind bringing them along - they simply need to know they need to in advance.

2. Consider a child-friendly menu option. It's not essential, but there is nothing more wonderfully thoughtful than arriving at someone's house and not only finding a delicious spicy curry cooking on the stove, but also a small saucepan of mac-n-cheese. Again, talk to the parents - what do their kids like to eat? It may be as simple as grabbing some pre-made apple sauce while you're at the store, but providing food for everyone helps everyone feel they're welcomed by you.

3. Get your best breakables out of reach. Having kids over is no time to showcase your collection of mid-century pottery! I knew a girl once who had so many tiny porcelain trinkets on her coffee table, we were afraid to move in her living room. Get that stuff away! It makes the whole experience less stressful for everyone.

4. A single toy can make all the difference. There's no need to go to the toy store for one-time house guests, but if you have a teddy bear lying around from last year's Valentines, or if you managed to grab a bag of LEGOs at the local thrift store for a steal, have them ready for playing with when your guests arrive. It's incredible how long just one new toy can captivate the interest of a young kid.

5. Don't shy away from the humble bed sheet. When we were growing up, whenever I ate dinner at my Aunty Jenny's place, she would spread a huge bed sheet over the carpet where we ate. It seems like something a crazy lady would do, but when you think about it, at the end of the night she simply rolled up that sheet and threw it in the laundry. Hardly seems crazy at all, right?

How do you host kids in your home? Or, if you have kids, how would you like to be hosted? Share your thoughts below!

(Image credits: Flickr user ​Dinner Series under CC BY 2.0)