My home is your home. We have all heard this phrase many times before, and though our intentions are always warm and in the best of means, things don’t always play out as well as we would have liked. It is not uncommon for children to be overly excited when given the opportunity to visit a friend or family member, and end up acting in a less than desirable fashion.
There are many ways that you can help combat your child’s negative behavior when visit others, or when your child goes to a friend’s house to play.
Always establish rules for when your child goes to someone else’s home. These rules should be consistent with the rules you have for behavior in your own home.
Go over the rules that you have in play for your own home. Let your child know that they must follow the same guidelines regardless of who’s house they are in. Yelling and running, things you already wouldn’t allow at home, should also not be tolerated when visiting someone else.
Remember to reward your child for good behavior. Verbal praise is always one of the best rewards. It let’s your child know that you are aware of their attempts to behave correctly, and that you appreciate their manners.
Teach your child to respect others and their belongings. Give them the classic example of the “Golden Rule”. Have your child consider how they would feel if one of their friends broke their favorite toy or lost part of a beloved game.
Openly communicate with the other child’s parent. Ask them what kind of rules they have for their child in their home. Is there a certain play area? If so remind your child not to remove toys from that area.
Let the other parent know what your expectations for your child’s behavior is, and request that they let you know if there is any problem.
Intervene as early as possible to correct any behavioral problem that may come up, as soon as you become aware of it.
If your child is not abiding by the rules, be sure to let them know what it is they are doing wrong, why it is wrong and what the consequences of the misbehavior are.
Some parents may request that your child go home early or not come back to play until tomorrow if they break their rules. You should allow these natural consequences so that your child can see what happens when they do not follow the rules.
Do not allow your child to play at other people’s homes until he/she can clean up after himself/herself, follow directions and be friendlier.
If it is apparent that your child is already in a negative mood and runs the risk of misbehaving, don’t feel guilty about canceling a play-date. What is important is that you do not set your child up for failure by allowing them to go to someone else’s home just to end up misbehaving.
Be consistent with your rules, and be consistent with rewarding good behavior. Be sure that you reward good behavior while you are at the other person’s home, and that you deliver negative consequences for inappropriate behavior at others’ homes.
If contracts help your child with rules and behavior, sit down with your child and write down the rules and your expectations and have your child sign it.
Maintain open communication with those whom your child visits. If there is a problem, encourage them to call you right away.
Prior to going to someone’s house, remind your child to follow directions, pick up after himself/herself, and be friendly. Remind your child what the consequences are if they do not follow the rules.
If your child wants to come home early, let them!
Encourage your child to talk about their time at their friend’s house. Have them report on their behavior, and encourage them to let you know if there were any problems.
Make certain there will be adult supervision at all times where your child is visiting.
Do not force your child to play/visit at someone’s house with whom he/she is not completely comfortable.
Always go inside the home your child is visiting with them, and talk to the parent. Review your rules and expectations with your child and the adult in charge.
Get to know your child’s friends and their parents and maintain open communication with them.
Make sure your child does not become involved in over stimulating activities when visiting someone’s home.
Share strategies for managing your child’s behavior with adults where your child visits.
Always keep that open line of communication with your child. You would never want to force your child to visit in a place where they feel uncomfortable. Always encourage your child to openly discuss their experiences and adventures when they are away from home. Discuss your rules and the rules where they will be visiting. Ask your child to give you a few examples of how the rules are the same and how they differ. Remind your child that they should always follow the rules, even if someone else says that it is “okay” to do something other than what you have told them. You must make it clear that your rules and that of the other child’s parent are put in place to ensure a safe and happy play environment.