Unattended kids will be given an Espresso and a free puppy!
When working with families with young children, a little understanding, emergency preparedness and humor can go a long way!
Whether or not kids should be taken along on home tours is always a hot topic. I happen to not only not mind but to welcome them. I love working with families. Perhaps it's because I've been very fortunate with most of my clients and have no horror stories to tell about kids jumping on beds, breaking a mirror, climbing on the roof, tasting the cat's food ... *quick, knock on wood*
Perhaps it's because I am a mom and that very fact has been a home-tour saver more than once. I recall the one instance when Lil' Joe really had to use the bathroom but the house we were looking at had been winterized. As it so happened, I had an emergency pull-up in my mom-tool bag. Major crisis prevented.
Another time I was able to distract the 2-year old daughter with an Elmo-phone that was a big hit with my daughter and always in my car. Lots of buttons to push and sounds to discover ... it kept her happy and occupied for quite some time.
Kids will be kids, sometimes they'll listen and sometimes they wont. The key is to not push your luck. If they have a not-so-good day, dragging out the time they are not allowed to touch anything will just result in stomping feet and pouty faces. How much fun is that for mom, dad & the Realtor®? Exactly.
Home tours are not the most exciting thing for a little child, thus a little understanding and emergency-preparedness will go a long way.
Have a special new toy handy. Bring a healthy snack. Cut the home tour short and reschedule for another day if a melt-down is eminent or take a little break. Take them outside to watch the deer/birds/grasshoppers so mom and dad can take another look ...
In my experience, parents do set the ground rules for their children. But should I ever happen to be in a situation when that is not so clear, I would try it with some humor first. Just like the Antiques store we visited recently which sported the sign:
"Unattended kids will be given an Espresso and a free puppy!"