Our friends at Fitzwater House shared some ideas with us on keeping families well during their stay at your home or inn. Joyce Mihalik, president of HlpSum1, Inc, and proprietor of the Fitzwater House Bed and Breakfast on the rim of the Cuyahoga Valley National Parks near Cleveland Ohio, says the most important family-friendly concepts our flexibility and safety.
“When families travel, they prep for their stay by packing many of the comforts and necessities from home”, says Mihalik. Their staples can include play-packs for sleeping infants and toddlers, coolers of familiar food and drink, and entertainment items, such as movies, toys and games. “Hosts seeking families as frequent guests should provide plenty of space to spread out and the flexibility to figure out for themselves how to best make accommodations work”.
From a wellness perspective, supporting them in bringing in their own food and beverage for dietary needs is critical. Provide space in your refrigerator, or an extra refrigerator that’s at least 3.3 cubic feet. Clean out a few cold storage shelves for food storage. Having their own refrigerator is even better, as it eliminates awkwardness of going in out of your “personal space”. If you don’t’ have an extra refrigerator, provide a voluminous cold storage cooler, or hearty ice packs for their coolers.
Parents with young children often seek out family-friendly inns to take the pressure off themselves of having to keep children quiet in hotel rooms with paper-thin walls.
They often travel together to reunite, and enjoy having safe common space for the kids to play while the parents catch up. WellHosts need to provide comfort by being chill, assuring parents that excited sounds from young voices are welcome for extended hours.
“Keeping those in your care safe takes a thorough analysis of your home”, Mihalik suggests. Young children will need clear space to play. Moving tables against walls to create space can help. Secure light, tall furniture to prevent it from tipping over. Mihalik also suggests getting down to a three-foot eye level, and observe what objects are within reach of little hands, and then move everything up. A four-year old is about 36 inches tall, and by that age should no better not to touch, so use this as your clearing line. Lower cabinets should have a safety latch, or, at least a really tight rubber band threaded through handles. Buy a pack of outlet protectors, and keep a baby gate handy to prevent toddlers from embarking on their biggest and most exciting adventure in your home: climbing the stairs unsupervised.
Stay tuned for more WellHosts blogs about family stays. Families will be grateful for your thoughtfulness, flexibility and a calm that you infuse into the house. When they find a sure thing, they will be back, and you can watch and enjoy the kids grow for years to come.