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Stand up for kids' needs on the road without being a momzilla

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Parent of toddler can take a stand without being a momzilla

Visiting with babies and toddlers: Do you have any tips on what is and isn't reasonable to ask of hosts when you're visiting (overnight) with babies and toddlers?

The last time my husband and I stayed at my in-laws for several days with our very active 18-month-old son, it was a disaster: ruined naps, cranky child, non-child-friendly TV on in the middle of the day, poorly baby-proofed environment.

The next time around our son will thankfully be 3 — but we'll have his 18-month-old sister in tow. Where is the line between asking someone to make their home child-friendly and being a self-centered momzilla?

Carolyn: Unless it's absolutely not an option (i.e., there isn't one or you're broke), stay in a hotel. They're actually more child-friendly than you might think. You retreat to said hotel for nights and nap times, and you arrive with rested children (which is so key) for visiting time with family.

The family also gets a break from your kiddie parade, which makes the accommodations you have to ask for when you're there ("Can we please not watch the Profanity Channel?") go over a little better, since it's only from 8 a.m. to noon and then 3 p.m. through dinner. If that, since an outing per day to a kid-friendly place would be a real gift to everyone involved.

When a hotel isn't possible and your hosts are openly resistant to kid-friendly accommodations, then take as much of it as you can upon yourself — bring baby gates for stairs, white-noise machine for naps, and, again, pre-researched outings to get your brood out of the house.

Re: Visiting

Anonymous: What if staying at a hotel (or even with other family members who have baby-proofed) is considered an insult?

And, on that same topic, how do we enforce our rules (no TV) when the in-laws stay with us? Saying, "We don't watch TV when the kids are awake" is ignored, and the instant we leave the room, the TV is on.

Carolyn: You're just going to have to take a stand: "When we stay at your home, that means asking other adults not to make noise at nap time, keeping the TV off or tuned only to G-rated shows, baby gates on all the stairs, no glassware on tables below hip height. Is everyone really up for that?"

If you get resistance, or don't trust them to cooperate with the child-proofing, then you make an executive decision and stay at a hotel. Take the flak and just do what you've got to do. The kids will eventually grow and you can go back to staying at the house of glass and f-bombs.

As for the TV watching by guests in your home, just put a password lock on the TV. They can turn it on all they want and they'll just be staring at a prompt.

When they ask you for the code, say, "Sorry, no TV when the kids are awake." It's a bit draconian, but, remember, you wouldn't have had to take drastic measures if they just had respected your house rules to begin with.

Stand up for kids' needs on the road without being a momzilla 05/27/11 [Last modified: Friday, May 27, 2011 10:16am]
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