Children sharing holidays
With the school holidays upon us, more and more children will be asking parents if they can invite friends for sleep-overs, for the weekend or to join a family holiday.
For many of us it’s an ideal way to entertain the kids and to widen their experiences both of how other families interact and new places. It's also a great way sharing the holiday childcare for working parents.
Making it work
The most important thing about taking another child on holiday or letting your child accompany another family is good planning and communication between the two sets of parents and being absolutely clear about arrangements (especially if a financial contribution is expected), whether any special clothes will be required - perhaps for sporting activities - and what rules the kids have to abide by.
You will want to know that your child will be adequately supervised and won’t be left to his own devices. If you feel uneasy about the arrangements or the adults involved it’s best to face your child’s disappointment and say no from the beginning. In most cases it’s best to trust your instincts.
Unless you know the other family very well, you’ll want to find out - before the holiday - if you’re all likely to get on. This applies to the adults as well; a child whose manners or behaviour you can’t stand will ruin the holiday for you even though he’s your child’s bosom buddy and they get on like a house on fire.
Therefore it’s a good idea to use day trips and overnight stays to assess whether the child is a good candidate and to get to know him better. Things like one child needing a light on to get to sleep and the other insisting on complete darkness need to be worked out in advance if bedtimes aren't going to be a hassle. Also if the child will only eat burgers and chips and your family can’t stand them you’ll have to work out a compromise solution.
Tips for younger visitors
Make sure the host family has similar views on: