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Please help me think of some nice ways to take charge when I need to- what I should say, etc. I am naturally really shy and this is so hard for me!

Here is what prompted the question... Last week a new family wanted to come over for dinner. By the time they left, it took DH and I over an hour and a half each to get the house back in order! Their DC (about the same age as ours) walked around eatting raw tomatoes, wrote on our shelves, ate dinner with their fingers and never washed up (got *everything* sticky), ran toys into walls, and were just rough with everything, dumping things out everywhere...

I would say something to *my* DC like, "You know the rules, now go do XYZ." or whatever, but the parents totally did not take the hint. Ever. No big suprise, we went to their house a few days later and most of their toys are broken and dirty and their walls are really banged up and there is food and stuff everywhere... Not that everyone has to have House Beautiful, of course, but how do I handle it when people just let their DC run loose and wreak havock in *my* house that I work hard to keep nice?

I have had this problem before when meeting new people, and just suck at saying anything. Just a disclaimer- my house and DC are not perfect or anything. I just believe in teaching my DC basic "house rules" like washing any sticky hands after they eat and not throwing things at the walls, yk?
 

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My DD and our friends' kids are still young, but here's what I do:

1. set out a damp washcloth for every kid in place of napkins and tell the parent "This is a clean one. Feel free to use it on faces or whatever." Since I still clean DD up with a damp cloth, this doesn't seem too weird to other parents of toddlers, I hope. I've stood up and used the cloth on hands when I saw the kid getting up to go play. Mind you, these are pretty good friends and I wouldn't mind if they did the same to my kid.

2. I've nicely asked kids to stay in the kitchen (or whereever) with food. "Emma, stay in the kitchen with the cookies, please." Usually, the parent doesn't even notice. If they do, they've never acted offended and sometimes even repeat what I said and enforce it.

3. Put things that you don't want dumped, etc. or that you know they don't use respectfully away before they come over. If there's a specific riding toy or a bucket of legos or whatever, just hide them. If they ask for the stuff just explain that "we're not using them tonight but here are some really fun ________."

Good luck. This can be so tricky to navigate relationships. I tend to be more direct/bossy but I figure that if I weren't and they kept doing those things I wouldn't want them to come over anyway - so there's no loss if they refuse to come over because of my behavior, KWIM?
 

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You just have to speak up. Sounds easy right? I do my best to be extra sugary sweet in situations like that. If you say something like, "oh honey, let me get you a napkin and a plate so you can eat that tomato in the kitchen so you don't get your shirt all dirty, you're dripping all over your arms(and the floor and the couch and the dog
)" you've given all the direction and told them what you are going to do, no asking, but you still sound nice. "Ok, everyone into the bathroom to wash up, holler if you need some help", nice, but effective.
 

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I'm working on this one, too. I used to be uncomfortable with providing other people's kids with guidance, but now see that that is unworkable.

It's okay to provide kids, especially those who are guests in your home, with information: Tomatoes stay in the kitchen; After dinner, we wash our hands; We draw on paper -- do you need paper?

Actually, it's really good practice for being civil with your own kids when explaining house rules.
 

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ITA with mamalisa- you just have to speak up. When this type of thing happens I make sure to say right in front of the parents (something like): "oh honey, we don't throw toys in the house." or whatever. I think if you say it very nicely it is fine. Usually in my experience the parents immedietly take the hint and step in themselves, and are not offended, especially if you use a gentle tone.
And I also find if you offer them alternatives it seems to work somewhat. For instance show them they cannot drive toys into the walls, but they can drive them in the middle of the floor.
And when we are at other's houses, if my DC are doing something that are against the rules of that house, I have no problem with the other parents speaking to them.
I do have one friend whose little boy seems to just constantly be getting into "trouble". . .
He is a very difficult child and I hate to say it, but I avoid having her over because it is just so difficult and he winds up destroying our things or hurting my kids.
If all else fails, and it is just too stressful having them over, could this be an option for you?
 
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