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5 Tips for making your temporary accommodation family-friendly

By Nathan Guss|7 min|March 2023

A rental home that appeals to families can make your listing stand out and ensure your guests have a great stay. Read on for 5 tips for a family-friendly accommodation.

Are you getting ready to host a family in your temporary accommodation and want them to have the best possible experience? Or are you seeking an edge in the competitive temporary home market? Making your rental unit family-friendly can help you tap into the large potential clientele with children and boost your ratings.

Here are 5 tips:

Make the home safe for children.

When hosting a family with kids, the adage holds true: safety comes first (see this Public Health Agency of Canada’s article for comprehensive coverage of the topic).

A good first step in making your rental unit safe is to explore it from a young child’s viewpoint. Examine the home as if you were a crawling baby and a waist-high toddler, and look for dangers.

Here are some things to watch for:

  • Hanging cords for curtains and blinds — Cut them and keep them very short so that children won’t get caught.
  • Stairs — Provide or install gates to block stairs and prevent falls.
  • Cabinets with medications, cleaning chemicals, knives and any other dangerous objects — If they can be reached from a child’s level or by climbing, put a lock or a latch on them.
  • Small items, toys and knick-knacks — Keep any objects that a child could swallow out of their reach.
  • Bodies of water — Cover or put a barrier around pools, garden ponds or any other body of water. Keep in mind that a child can drown in as little as 2.5 cm.
  • Windows — Put in window guards and move any furniture that could allow a toddler to climb to a window.
  • Electrical sockets — Cover them with safety plugs.
  • Fireplaces and space heaters — Cut off access with a fire-safe guard that’s at least 56 cm high.
  • Contact numbers — Post a list of phone numbers for the local emergency room, the closest pharmacy and a dentist.

Equip your unit for mealtime.

Having the right setup can make meals much easier and more relaxing for families. Consider purchasing these items:

  • A high chair with a safety belt (See the Government of Canada’s recommendations.)
  • A plastic utensil set and plates for toddlers
  • Spill-proof sippy cups
  • Bibs

Create a child-friendly bedroom.

Installing light-blocking shades in a bedroom increases the chance that young ones will get the sleep they need. A good nap and a well-rested child will improve the whole family’s stay (anyone who has spent time with a sleep-deprived toddler needs no explanation).

Children under the age of three need a crib. Make sure that it meets Canadian safety standards. The mattress should fit snuggly in it and have a fitted sheet.

Parents will appreciate the peace of mind that comes with a baby monitor.

A shelf with some bedtime reading for young children is a nice touch. You may remember Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. It’s a classic that will help your young guests drift off to a peaceful slumber. Parents and children alike will love the beautiful, oneiric artwork in Il Sung Na’s A Book of Sleep. Their eyes will also grow heavy listening to the soporific tale and looking at the dark illustrations in Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan. In a different vein, Chris Raschka’s _Yo! Yes? _is a heartwarming, edifying story of intercultural friendship.

Provide some entertainment for young children.

Toys and materials for activities keep children engaged. They can have hours of fun with simple toys, such as cars, puzzles or building blocks. Eco-dough is a non-toxic, natural, colourful playdough that will spark young ones’ imaginations. And who doesn’t have fond memories of fingerpainting as a kid? Veggie Baby fingerpaints are a nontoxic, washable version that your youngest guests will love. Whatever toys and activities you make available, be sure that none of the items or pieces are small enough for children to swallow. A good rule of thumb is that they should be too big to fit into a toilet paper roll. If in doubt about a toy’s safety, consult the Industry Guide to Health Canada’s Safety Requirements for Children’s Toys and Related Products.

Don’t forget about older children and teenagers.

Of course, having fast, reliable Wi-Fi is essential for keeping older kids and teenagers happy (and let’s face it, the same goes for their parents). But providing some offline activities can lead to high-quality family time.

As an increasingly popular alternative to video games, board games bring parents and older children together (but since they can have small pieces, be sure to store them beyond young children’s reach). Often featuring beautiful art, they’re an appealingly tangible, face-to-face change of pace in our online lives. You can’t go wrong with a chess or checkers set. Dixit is whimsical storytelling activity that awakens creativity and a taste for ambiguity. Scrutineyes, which speaks to a wide age range, will put everyone’s eye for detail and vocabulary to the test. Bananagrams is a fast, fluid word game.

Believe it or not, children and teenagers still do play outside. If your property has a yard, you could provide a soccer ball, football and frisbee. A badminton set is an inexpensive addition that can lead to many hours of spirited backyard competition. A major plus is that birdies are unlikely to break any windows—actually, if a child breaks a window that way, you should get in touch with the Canadian Olympic badminton team!

These 5 tips will take your host game to the next level. Be sure to include any new family-friendly features in your listings so you catch the eye of your future guests.

Hosting Relocated Families

Are you interested in hosting families who have lost the use of their homes due to a fire, flood or other disaster? Join the SiniSTAR host community, and list your home only the only home-sharing platform that works with insurers to house displaced policyholders, including many with children.

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