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Dear Rosie, My neighbor’s children frequently pop over to my house to play. I love that we have young kids on our street, but they stay a long time, eat most of our snacks, and then I feel responsible for walking them (with my children in tow) a few doors home. How do I get this situation under control? —Too-Good Neighbor
If these visits are more trouble than they’re worth, put an end to them. When these children knock, say, “I’m sorry. It’s not a good time to play.” Repeat as necessary. I promise they’ll eventually find another house to descend upon. But if your children enjoy the company, you need to set some boundaries. If the kids want snacks, tell them sorry but you’re not serving any now. When you’re ready for them to leave, give a five-minute warning, call their mom and dad, and say, “Your children are ready to be picked up. Will you please come get them?” If the parents dillydally, take their children back home, but the next time they pop over, don’t allow them through the door. Don’t feel the least bit guilty—your rude neighbors may not care that they obviously pushed you to your last limit, but at least from now on their kids will be in their hair—and snack cabinet—and not yours.
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.