You love your family and you enjoy spending time with them. You want to make them feel welcome so everyone can create happy memories and have a great time. Whether it is for a specific holiday, family reunion, dropping in for vacation or passing through on a road trip, you might have a full house.
How do you prepare for family staying with you?
The goal is to keep everyone happy, healthy and comfortable. Take these items into consideration when you know you have people coming to stay with you which will hopefully keep the stress levels down.
- Food and Diet There is more awareness today than ever in regards to food allergies. Dietary restrictions can include gluten, dairy, shellfish or tree nuts. Make sure you know the specific food allergies and intolerances of your guests….including the severity. Some people can’t even smell tree nuts without having an allergic reaction. People with severe food sensitivities may travel with their own food but just in case, ask them. Grocery stores have aisles dedicated to special foods and alternatives to the normal stuff you may be used to buying.
- Sleeping Arrangements Everyone has to sleep somewhere! Do you have enough beds? Do you have enough floor spaces appropriate for your guests? Often, older people have issues climbing stairs. Can you accommodate them on a lower level of your house? Do you have rooms or areas that can be closed off so babies or lighter sleepers can sleep peacefully? Luckily, air mattresses are affordable and store easily in a closet when not in use. They are also often fairly comfortable to sleep on.
- Activities So you have guests and you need to entertain them. How old are they? What does everyone like to do? What are some things that you can’t do because of physical limitations, the weather or financial budgets? This is something to ask your guests before they arrive so you have plenty of time to do research for events or activities going on in the area. This will also give your guests plenty of time if they need to pack for a specific activity or function. Check out Famicity’s blog on various family activities. Maybe you can slip in some ancestry and genealogy activities such as sitting down with old family albums or video taping everyone and asking them to give a little speech about their lives?
- Bathrooms How many bathrooms does your home have? How many visitors will you have staying with you? Can your water heater handle multiple showers? While you can’t control when people use the bathroom, you may be able to set a shower schedule to make sure everyone can shower with enough hot water. Depending on how long your guests will be staying, you may want to sneak in a load of towels into the laundry.
- Transportation Your guests may fly, drive, or take a bus or train. Are they driving? Ok, that helps. Are they flying, riding a bus or taking a train? Are you picking them up or will they be getting a rental car? If you plan activities that require transportation, make sure you have the methods to get everyone safely from point A to B including babies and children that may require special seats.
- Pets This can be almost as important as food and diet. For some of us, pets are family too. However, are your pets visitor and guest friendly? We’re not talking about if they attack (which could also be an issue), but are your guests allergic to pet dander? This takes a little more prep and you can only do so much but dusting, vacuuming and mopping floors can help neutralize and minimize allergens that might bother your guests. Check out this article on products that can help with this. Also, make sure your guests know the proper protocol for feeding the pets (no human food, no food after a certain time) and letting the pets outside. No need to make a family gathering a disaster with a lost pet that accidentally got outside because someone left a door open.Do you have guests that are afraid or dislike certain animals? Try to make arrangements to avoid potential conflicts.
One of the biggest things to keep in mind on all of these recommendations is communication. If you don’t know something particular about a guest, ask. It may or may not be a big deal but knowing any potential issues ahead of time will give you time to make appropriate accommodations and keep the stress levels down. It just isn’t you, the host, that is stressed, your guests are also stressed as your home may be unfamiliar to them and everyone is out of their normal routine.
For more information on how to prepare for house guests, check out this article from Realsimple.com.