Parents not watching child

This is more of an irritation issue than anything.

These guests have been really nice and they seem like decent people. However, they booked for 2, claimed they’d tried to get in touch to explain that they’d be bringing an 8 month old and a 7 year old, but that they were unable to prior to the booking.

Upon finding out about that, I explained that they’d need to pay an extra $25 per day to cover the extra expense for the children. Because I then would need to create entertainment for the kids. And there’d be extra cleaning. But chiefly because they’d been dishonest and they darn well knew it. I’ve never ever had a guest who couldn’t get in touch with me.

Incidentally, these guests also wanted to use my address so they could get a post office box. I directed them to a retail mailbox place and declined. I live in California, so I trust no one.

So all is well and they seem very respectful. I had an extra video game console and a TV that I’d been meaning to mount to the wall in the guest room, but hadn’t done yet, so I just set it up in the living room.

However, the mother appears to not be the biological mother of the 7 year old. Mom stays in the room all day with her 8 month old while Dad works.

The problem lies in this: she does nothing to entertain the 7 year old. So I therefore have to figure it out so as not to be rude plus I feel sorry for this obviously ignored child.

So I provide the child with somethings to do - color and some child-friendly video games. But said child has constant questions. It’s very irritating.

I’m not sure if broaching the subject with Mom or Dad would help anything or simply create bad feelings.

Has anyone else experienced this and how did they figure it out?

What are they doing in your area? They don’t sound like tourists. Do they even have a home of their own somewhere?

How long is the total stay and how long left? ( I hope it’s not over 30 days!)

The total stay is nine days. They are moving to the area and looking for an apartment.

Also because I live in California and a 30 day or more stay would give them tenancy rights, I don’t allow stays any longer than 29 days.

I do hope you don’t allow them to extend at the 9 day mark.

I rent out a whole home instead of a shared space. But I realized after a few bad apples that I had to make expectations clear. I put the section below in my “house notes” document versus my Airbnb house rules. The reason is because I don’t want to be accused of advertising a preference that includes a protected class…familial status. I have heard that some apartment complexes have gotten into trouble just for putting up signs that specifically are about certain age children. So anyway…I send a document to all guests AFTER booking that goes over all kinds of things in the home, wifi, etc. I have a specific section called “Children”

Children: Parents are to properly supervise their children at all times. The home is not child proofed and does not offer “toys.” There is a Dollar Store down the road if you need to purchase toys for your child. Family games are to be cared for and returned to their original location, with all game pieces included. Please do not allow your children to use Directv manuals as coloring books. Drink coasters are not to be used as toys/Frisbees. All horseshoes and croquet sticks/balls should be placed back in their original location and accounted for. Missing items will be charged to the guest. I wish I didn’t have to insert this section, but after several negative experiences I found it necessary to be clear on expectations."

If the parent is “offended” I really don’t care. But after several guests left who had several small children - and I needed to bring in extra help to get the place ready for next guest checking in…I decided it wasn’t worth the risk to trust that parents will not treat the place like a hotel.

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All I can say is thank goodness I’m still allowed to say what a great place my space is for two adult guests!

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I changed my house rules today after my original post to include language about parents need to watch their minor child at all times, cannot leave the child alone unless they’re willing to pay me $10 an hour to babysit the child, about how I’ll provide crayons, markers, colored pencils, and paper. They can use the ps3 I have but no one else uses it except guests so if it breaks, they have to pay replacement cost. Also if they damage games. Also fees for child messes like for example drawing on walls and especially biological messes. Ewww.

And no, I will not allow them to re-book.

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You need to take the tyke to the room, knock on the door, and say in a cheery voice “hi!! Thought I’d bring little junior back to you…I’m not able to watch the darling at the moment. I know you will want to keep an eye on him. OK! have fun!”. Like you’re doing her a favor.

What an awful situation. When the dad comes home sit down and have a little heart-to-heart. “I’m so sorry I wasn’t more specific - you need to supervise your child at all times (then be REAL clear with what you mean)”. Nip. This. In. The. Bud. They are trudging all over you with their muddy boots and unless you get that spine of tungsten the behavior will only get worse. Respect yourself and they will respect you.

Remember, as hosts we wear many name badges “reservation clerk” “cleaning service” and the most important one “SECURITY OFFICER”.

I would NOT offer to babysit in your listing. This seems like it will bring a deluge of potential problems. And $10?? My 11 yo gets $7.50 to be a mommy’s helper!!!


I’m not the paranoid type but I would be very wary of doing this. All it takes is one accusation of abuse and your life becomes a nightmare.

Hmm good idea, I won’t add that to my listing.

And you’re right it is getting worse every day this little girl comes to me a little bit more for help with everything. The only thing is that she said she’s not a little tyke so I feel kind of weird escorting her back to the mother and saying whatever I would say in that situation.

I also feel sorry for this little girl because I know that when she’s in that room with that mother that she has nothing to do and the mother still pays no attention to her.

If it gets any worse though I will have a talk with the father. I just don’t want there to be any falllout on to this little girl.

I also suspect that the mother would become irritable with me if I went around her to talk to the father.

I just realized that if the mother is not watching the child even though the child is 7 years old that as a previous poster mentioned I could be accused of abuse in some way if I’m not careful. I didn’t even think of that one. I will go ahead and talk to the mom when I return to the house and let her know that she has to watch the child because I can’t be responsible for her. Like another poster said I do need to respect myself and set that boundary or there could be unforeseen consequences.

Yes, it is a difficult situation for sure. I feel your pain. How awful for everyone. I guess, if you’re able to spend some time with her, it’s better for everyone. Sometimes in life we do what’s best for the child regardless of the cost to ourselves. Good luck, not-so- @happylittlehost

I am so sorry dcmooney, I TOTALLY disagree. OP, you are not the godfather, your are not an uncle and you are not a guardian. The childs welfare is absolutely not your responsibility. Do as someone suggested and take the kid to the room and say “hey mom, your child needs to be supervised, here you go”. Or else remove yourself from the shared space and deal with any crayons on wall fallouts if they happen. Better to sit in a library and do your work then be in your living room making small talk with an unattended child

I do agree that the child shouldn’t suffer, but boredom is not suffering - if the child was really neglected, was not being fed, was improperly clothed or was left to stoke a firepit, then that’s a different matter, but it sounds like the kid is bored, and the mother is quite happy to leave the kid outside the room because you are there entertaining.

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I must agree completely. I’ve provided everything they need to entertain the child. All Mom would have to do is sit there with her and keep an eye on her.

And I’ve also said in my listing that I’m not really going to hang out with the guests. I’ve said that the most I can do is provide information.

So when Dad gets back from work, I will talk with both of them so that Mom can’t say that I acted differently than I actually did, you know what I mean?

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@superhostnyc, I’m also the poster that said she should deliver the child to the mother and say “here you go!!”, and that the host has to take back control of the situation.

I’m not saying the child’s welfare is her responsibility in any way. I’m saying that, if the host has some time and energy to be kind and engage with the child, then that’s all to the good. Sometimes, if we are able, and can reach beyond what is our ‘responsibility’ - as hosts, and as people - then that adds to what’s good in this world. Boredom is not suffering, but being ignored is. If this host has any time and energy to engage with the child and brighten their day, why not?

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I’m the OP. I totally would try to help this child except that I then have liability if anything happens. And you cannot trust anyone.

Pretty infuriating that this Mom is just sitting in the room doing nothing, abdicating her responsibilities. She plays with her biological child then ignores this one. All she’d have to do is sit in front room with the child while the child entertains herself. She can still play with her biological child all she wants.

It’s just not only not my job but also I have things that I need to do. And even if I didn’t, this creates liability for me. She could fall into the pool, bump her head and drown. No shortage of unforeseen circumstances.

After this experience I might follow your lead.

I believe that Airbnb will side with you if you call and explain that the guest is not supervising the child. You might consider terminating the stay. One thing I want to point out is that on this board there is a lot of skittishness about liability. While it is true that in the U. S. unless you’ve waived your right to sue; you can sue for anything. However, unless the plaintiff plans to sue in small claims court or is an attorney, said plaintiff will need to retain an attorney. In most personal injury cases the attorney works on a contingency. Unless the attorney believes that there is strong evidence of negligence (for example lending a bicycle knowing but not advising that the brakes are faulty, not just lending a bicycle) and the attorney believes that the defendant has enough assets to pay a judgement it will be difficult to find an attorney to take the case.

There is also a pool. Warning! Danger Will Robinson!


Yes, a pool does pose significant liability. I wouldn’t worry so much about things like lending bicycles to guests.

Yes -I’m reading too fast and reacting in haste.