Aunt: „We have two nieces aged 6 and 12. We know the parents and children well and they are comfortable with us. They have indicated that they would like to come and stay overnight. But their parents clearly have different standards and ideas about food. My husband and I have a healthy lifestyle without meat and with lots of vegetables and fruit. But the children only want to eat unhealthy snacks such as fries, chips and frankfurters. How far do you take them into account when you know they can get away with it at home? Do you discuss this with the parents? For example, are you saying they won’t get meat if they come to stay with us? And no mountains of candy? Or is it better to avoid this problem and not let them stay with us?

“We’ve had this problem before with friends’ children: we tried everything but the boys really didn’t like anything. We would love it if the nieces came, but at the same time we look forward to it.”

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Pamper yourself

Bass Delivery: “The purpose of lodging is not to take over part of the education or to correct that of the parents. You want to make something beautiful together that the children will remember. A little pampering is part of that. You want to know: what would they like to do, and what do they like to eat?

“I would explicitly discuss the mutual expectations with the nieces and their parents: why do they want to come? They are guests in your house, where your rules apply. The fun of staying over is precisely that you get to a place where things are different than at home. If the kids don’t like it, they shouldn’t do it. But when you are a guest somewhere, you also expect that you don’t have to eat meat.

“It depends on your creativity how you combine what the children think is festive with your own dietary rules: a vegetarian can always bake pancakes or fries: all children like that.

“Is it wise to ask them both at the same time? Six years is a big age difference. For children it is great not to have to share the attention with sister or brother for once.

“Finally, you and your husband should think about what you both like when the nieces come. The enthusiasm is not there.”

Slowly getting used to

Tischa Neve: “For children who are not used to eating super healthy at home, it is quite a transition to get somewhere where that happens. Choose the golden mean and keep it child-friendly. For example, you can suggest that the children bake something together that contains less sugar and E numbers than sweets from the store: for example, cookies or banana bread. Let them choose a recipe that they think is tasty and fun to make.

“See it as a fun challenge to slowly get the children used to other tasty food than they are used to. Most kids are quite willing to try something. You can also share your concern with the children: ‘We do it a little differently than at your home, and we’re quite excited to see if you like it.’ But above all: enjoy being together.”