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Need advice! Unexpected toddler a daytime guest


What do you do if someone books your not-kid-friendly space for two adults and then babysits a toddler for nearly the entire 3-day stay, but just during the daytime? This just happened to me. FYI the family/kid friendly amenity in my listing is unchecked. The morning of her arrival, I asked my guest what time she’d be here. She told me around 2 and that she’d be bringing her grandson, who would be leaving after a nap (she’d not mentioned him previously). I replied that my space was not childproofed, but I didn’t tell her not to bring him. Well, at 8 p.m. he was still here, 6 hours after her arrival, and was here for much of the 3-day booking, just not overnight. I was on edge with the child being here because of glass tables, a tall unsecured TV stand and other potential hazards. Should I ban children from my space altogether? That seems a bit harsh, but I’m wondering if anyone else has done this. Thanks for your help!


Do you want any children there? If not, then no children allowed. You are not being harsh. You set the rules for your space. You do not have to be everything to all guests. Those other guests will look for a space that allows children. I personally feel that young children do not belong in a private home unless you welcome young children by choice. This woman manipulated you. If she brought over the max then she violated the max occupancy.

When I have guests bring more children than stated then I make them pay me cash upon arrival for additional people. But please understand I rent out a self-contained space…totally different than sharing the space. More and more travelers are “pretending” to not know that they should mention their children. If you are not on instant booking - I cannot stress this enough…but before accepting the reservation you have to ask if it will be only the inquirer and anyone else they mentioned. Go ahead and ask if they have any babies or children in their party. People will not disclose info unless asked.

Good luck with everything!


Thank you for your response and suggestions, Cabinhost! I don’t have children in my home, and my rental is a self-contained “mother-in-law” suite downstairs from my living space. Although the toddler never stayed overnight, I felt he was a guest, nonetheless. I do feel somewhat manipulated. But since this was the grandmother’s first airnbn booking, I’ll tell her my feelings in the private section of the review and suggest she seek kid-friendly rentals in the future.


Meadow… tell the guest now you will be changing and charging their reservation (in progress) to include the stay for the child. And then do it. Don’t be shy…An additional $10 minimum.

Kids should be disclosed CLEARLY, not sprung on a host. Air will side with you, or they should…Then immediately change your rules and listing to read : “Not a fit for babies or toddlers. Two adult guests max.”

The guest did a big no-no… I agree with Cabin about kids… I had twins myself and know what they can do to a house! (when my two were teething, they pulled up on the window sills of their room and chewed on the edges!! OMG!)

And a million other things, not to mention additional water use, utilities and wear and tear!

Meadow, and you didn’t ask us about it, but I would also set a check in time… Give the guests clear guidelines and rules to follow. They will feel better and so will you. It’s possibly you gave her mixed messages about the children??

Got to be clear on your rules. It’s your place and your rules.


Since this is a self-contained space then you also must ask the inquirer if there will be any visitors during their stay. You will be surprised what they will disclose after this question is asked. I have had families try to book and then later come back and say their college age son will most likely be visiting. In reality this extra person is really a guest and not a visitor.


Thank you for the feedback, konacoconutz (love your name!). The problem was that the toddler didn’t stay overnight, so my guest wasn’t obligated to tell me about him. He just stayed through much of the day and evening. I’ve since made it clear in house rules that children under the age of 12 aren’t permitted in the space because it’s not childproofed. That will likely offend some people but I don’t want the liability. Live and learn!


Good point! I do have a house rule that bans unscheduled overnight guests, but I also intend to ask directly about who will be staying overnight. I’m getting pickier/more specific in my house rules. I’ve added a rule that says the number of visitors a guest can have in the space for gatherings is limited to 6 people, which is to discourage parties. The guest has been verified by Airbnb, unlike their friends and family members.


Not to boss you around too much Meadow :wink: but in my humble experience… THREE is enough for a loud obnoxious party. I used to think it was OK for my guests to entertain until I had someone abuse it. Now I ban ALL visitors except for their approved party on property. For one thing, it exposes you to liability, adds to your utility costs…etc., and really will do nothing for you in terms of getting better reviews.

I had guests this year who thought it was OK to bring strangers they met on the beach back to my home and party with them. They all got roaring drunk and I was stressed, mortified and livid. My neighbors complained!!!

She would have had the dude stay over had I not told her he had to leave. He finally did at 1 AM. Mind you this was a local dude (per his local car parked out front) who now knows my situation, that I live alone, what I have on property, what my car looks like. I could hear their conversation from up here and he was talking about using drugs. JUST no… !!!

This was a so-called quiet professional and her friend from Portland… Jennifer H. Never rent to her!

She never should have put me in that position! She got a scathing review from me for her bad bad behavior. (which also included a mess and damaged items from the partying.)

I added this rule:

'Only your approved and registered party of two allowed in the apartment or on the property." It’s reasonable n’est pas?

Really, think about it Meadow, what is the benefit to you for allowing 6 six guests over???


Oh my gosh I’m being too nice! Thank you for your feedback. I’m going to add your (completely reasonable) rule to my house rules and, like you do, email them to the guest before he/she arrives.


Meadow… I create a PDF document with the main rules, information, places to eat, and things to do and see… It REALLY helps a lot… And you can edit and change it for every set of guests if you wish.


Meadow… I also make sure whenever possible that my “rules” are worded positively, rather than using the words DON’T and NO…

Guests are like children… they will run amok and think there are no rules if you don’t set your expectations down at the start.

We are sharing our homes for the money, and to get good reviews. I’ve carefully looked at everything I do and if it doesn’t add to the revenue or the reviews, I don’t do it. I always ask, will allowing that benefit ME?? Like late check out or early check in. People will try because they can often get it at a hotel. Well we are not a hotel. Most of us are doing our own cleaning. There is zero benefit to early check in. You won’t get a better review for it if you do them that favor. Likewise, I used to allow late check but then asked myself. WHY?? Once I did for a couple that I thought was nice and they smacked me in a review!! After I gave them TWELVE HOURS of free time at my place!!!

So never again! Sorry to sound jaded… but after doing this 5.5 years, I’ve just about seen it all! :slight_smile:


I agree with Kona about visitors…esp. since your place only sleeps two. The cabin I rent out is 1672 square feet and I only allow up to 6 at any time on the property. But I don’t think I have actually had guests have any “visitors.” I believe everyone who claimed a “day visitor” really stayed the night…and they were asked to cough up the money.

The only reason I even allow visitors is in case a couple rents the space and wants to invite another couple over for dinner or something. But if your mother-in-law suite is not set up as a place to entertain then is there really any reason two adults need to be having their own guests stop by?


The space is okay for entertaining since it’s 1,000 sf, but there’s only a breakfast bar that seats 2 on which to eat meals. My last guest cooked for a family of 5, including a toddler, but then I have to ask myself if they’re eating on the couches. Ugh. The space was very clean when she left, thankfully. Still, … no more unscheduled visitors! They’ll have to check with me first before inviting anyone over. Having another couple over for a visit, for instance, would be fine.


How many do you sleep at your place and how many bedrooms?


Thanks for sharing. I never had this situation in my house but good to know that it might happen.,I would just not let anyone babysit a toddler in my house. One thing is when my friends bring their kids to my house for a couple hourse, and ALL of them managed to fell on my marble stairs, but another when guests do that and on topof that babysit a toddler for the whole day.
That’s too much liability for me and not safe for a child.

Since I written all rules gradually and wrote in big letters about kitchen, children, pets, I noticed that people with all these needs ask me first before booking. So, my question is did they read the rules and then desided to ask anyway, or they just didnt read the rules.
Though those who ask could have booked instantly they still ask if for example they need to cook, or they have a child.


The space has one enormous bedroom that sleeps 2.


I don’t know if she read the house rules, but the rules didn’t state that children were banned from the property (now it does!). Since the toddler wasn’t staying overnight, I assume she didn’t think she needed to ask about him beforehand. I told her before she brought him over that the space wasn’t childproofed, but that didn’t seem to matter.


Maybe she thought you were advising that it was OK but that she would have to take her chances regarding the childproofed space? Most parents would automatically do their own childproofing of a new space…

Perhaps it was all a bit ambiguous. I’m sure when you change your rules you will never have this happen again. I’m guessing you will be more firm in the future!


I figured you had a huge bedroom with that square footage…sound very nice! If the guest thought she didn’t need to mention anything, then she wouldn’t have even mentioned the grandson. The fact that she mentioned him on her way was just to cover her butt that she informed you of him. So many guests these days want to “tell” us who will be coming and act like they are doing us favor.

You already had the kid friendly option unchecked. So grandma didn’t bother to disclose her grandson during the reservation. If she really felt like she was doing nothing wrong she wouldn’t have told you that she is bringing her grandson and he will be leaving after a nap. She was testing your reaction with that to see if she could continue to have him over. I could be all wrong but this business just reveals so many manipulative behaviors.


YES! I have had adults book for two and arrive with their toddler. If you ban young children then you hold all the cards to turn away people like your guests. Who I might add knew well that they were going to have a toddler all day, and just took advantage of you! Yes, ban them. Here is my listing " Sorry, I am no longer able to take children under 8 years of age". By saying Sorry, you indicate that you had hosted children, but that it has not been a success. That takes pressure off you.

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