There are 3 questions we are often asked about house sitting with children.
We started traveling when Araya was 8 months old. We have used house sitting as our technique to slow travel.
She has now done over a dozen house sits in her 2 years of life and will be on a house sit as you read this!
Araya is growing up in this environment so it's all she has ever known. This makes it easy for us in some ways as she is adaptable and comfortable with change.
These are the 3 main questions we get asked about taking our daughter house sitting...
Most parents would agree that having a routine is great for kids. Keeping your children on their schedule allows them to handle every day life and makes it easier for them, and for you!
We change homes every 5 weeks on average. Araya changes bedroom, the room where she eats, the animals she lives with & the garden she plays in frequently. Just as she gets to know her own environment, we then move on to another.
Amidst all this flux, we have found a way to make this as natural as possible for her and us. Some aspects of her life never change and never will, such as:
Her meal times are always at the same time of day.
She was born in France so we took our lead from the French. We always eat together as a family and always at the same meal times. Breakfast at 8, lunch at 12, snack time (not for the parents!!) at 4 and dinner at 6:30.
Her bedtime, nap time and bath time are always at the same time of day.
By having our meals at the same time every day, we can also get her bathed and into bed on time too. This consistency allows her to handle all the other changes in her life. Occasionally we can't keep this routine, especially when traveling between house sitting gigs. However, once settled into our 'new home' we get back on track...
We choose our house sits wisely. There are plenty we would never attempt with a two year old. 2 questions we ask ourselves are:
What is the work load involved with this house sit?
How about house sitting for 6 horses, 3 dogs, 4 cats and a load of chickens? That might be perfect for you but it's not for everyone. We have accepted sits with high work loads in exchange for living in a wonderful property or desirable location. We prefer things a little simpler though, so that we can ensure plenty of family time.
Are you comfortable with these animals or breeds around your child?
Our daughter is 2 years old. She walks, talks and runs around from sun up to sun down. She has been around many breeds of dogs, many very large such as German Shepherds and Great Danes. However, never any which we have had a question about. For us there are simply some breeds we can't sit for.
It's not just aggressive dog breeds we consider though. Some animals may be too small or delicate to have a 2 year old around. For example, we once declined a house sit with small 5lb dogs and another with an old, frail cat.
Yes we do. We always aim to return the home back to the owner in better condition than we found it. This means we need to think ahead and find ways to minimize the chances of Araya causing damage.
Some things we have tried include using crayons, not markers, when she wants to draw. We have made our own colorless Play-dough which can't stain surfaces. We often put her in a high chair when coloring etc as it limits her range!
We also take her out a lot. Playtime at local libraries, community centers and playgrounds allow her much freedom. We often house sit near beaches etc so a lot of her play is more active and outdoors, just like the good ol' days!
Basically, our approach is that prevention is better that cure.
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