How to navigate an open house with kids in tow

Cute girl looking at model of house

You’ve decided to take your kids along with you to an open house and want to make sure they’re engaged, feel included and don’t distract you from the task at hand. Here are some tips to help you achieve these goals:

Recruit a media crew

Have your kids take photos or videos for you during the tour. According to Common Sense Media, 75% of all children have access to mobile devices at home, so chances are your kids are well versed when it comes to handling your cellphone. Involving them in this way is also a great way to use media to teach teamwork and foster curiosity, particularly if you engage your kids by “co-viewing and co-playing and asking questions about what they think,” when you get home and do a 360 photo or video tour.

However, before capturing any media, be sure to get permission first since this may be privacy concern for some sellers. Also, if your kids are old enough to read they can help you quiz the seller or real estate agent, asking any questions that come up during the open house.

Use activity sheets

Create activity sheets with elements and amenities that you’re looking for in your new home and have your kids mark them off as you encounter them. This will help you to better distinguish between the houses that you tour, and also turn the task into a group activity that the whole family can participate in.

Turn it into a scavenger hunt

Have your kids keep an eye out for specific defects like scuffs so you can focus on the big picture during the walk-through. This way you won’t have to split your focus but you’ll still have a complete picture at the end of the day when you’re comparing notes. Plus the kids get to make a game out of it to keep things interesting.

Make it educational

“Kids are always learning by taking in all that they see and hear around them – often without parents realizing just how much their children are paying attention,” says Elizabeth Grace of Kids Development. So why not turn the open house into a learning opportunity?

You could focus on vocabulary for younger kids and use it to teach them about the different types of homes you encounter, or geography and the different neighborhoods in your city. And if your kids are a little older and able to process more complex information, use these visits to discuss real estate and finances. Adapt your lessons to their age and change them up as you go.

Establish ground rules

As a courtesy, call ahead to let the host know that you’ll be bringing kids along. And be sure to establish ground rules to ensure that your kids are respectful of private property, any pets on site, and other visitors. You may also need to talk to them about bathroom usage, since this will not be a regular home visit with access to restrooms.

Finally, be sure to get there early to give yourself plenty of time for the group tour, and monitor the time as you go to ensure that you honor the ending time of the event as well.

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