The kid who comes over every day

There is a boy, Ronald, who lives down the street who comes over to our house EVERY DAY. He isn’t abused or neglected, just lonely I guess. He’s 9 years old and comes to play with my 8 and 10 year old boys.

But it’s EVERY DAY. He comes over imediately after school, and will wait if they aren’t home yet. I won’t let my boys play with him until they’ve at least made a good start on their homework. Ronald then plays with my 5 year old who doesn’t have homework.

On the one hand, he’s a fairly nice, polite boy, not a trouble-maker. He respects the fact that he isn’t allowed to bother the boys while they do their hoemwok. On the other hand, it’s just too much. My boys are distracted by him being over and rush to finish their homework so they can play, which means their homework is hurried and sloppy.

I feel sorry for this boy, but I don’t want to allow him total free to come over all the time.

Help me think of rules that will make life easier for me, Ronald, and my kids.

Some sort of sign on the door, which is reversible. Or something you can put on the porch. If the red side is up, you are not available for play. When the green side is out, the kids are able to play. You would have to train him to look at the sign, but once he gets the idea, he’ll only knock when the green sign is out.

He can only come over after whatever time.

Talk to his parents about your kids going over there sometimes, if that’s what you want. You should talk to them anyway if your kids are going to hang out.

Set a certain number of days maximum he can visit each week and don’t feel you can’t say never on a certain day.

Most parents can work on reciprocating visits for playmates and find a solution that works for the kids, and both families.

There is nothing wrong with requiring a call to ask if the kids can hang out. This always gave the feeling when I was a kid that each time we got to visit it was a special deal that wasn’t always a given that we’d get to visit.

They’re Boys. They want to play with their friends. Since two of the three live at your house, he comes over there. Since they are rushing to play with him, I assume they like having him around. That’s how it works with kids.

I do apologize, but I’m having trouble empathizing. Your two sons aren’t fighting each other, and are still enjoying socializing with one another. They’ve found a third member with which to enjoy playtime, and have fun with, so he comes over. IMHO, that’s how it works with kids.

The fact that he enjoys the company of your youngest is probably indicative that the kids is just plain lonely, and/or likes the atmosphere or environment at your house. He probably wants siblings of his own, and enjoys having the temporary family at your house.

I probably just don’t get it. I’m not trying to be offensive, but I just don’t see the issue. If you’re trying to enforce some “family time” or something, then just tell him that Thursdays are family time. Other than that… your boys are happy playing with him - enjoy it while you can.

I assume he would not be at home alone if he were not at your house? Because if so, although it is annoying and not fair, I think you are doing a great thing to let him be in your home. If his parent is at home he/she must ignore him. Or maybe it’s just boring at his house.

How’s this for a crazy idea? Make him do his homework. “Johnny, if you’re going to be here right after school you need to work on your homework.” Maybe he’ll hate it and go home. Or make him read a book instead of playing.

Hey, how about making him clean the bathroom? Or dust the living room? I like these ideas greatly.

I see your point, Noelq, but I can sympathize with the OP, especially if he’s there every day. Coming over before autz’s kids are home from school and waiting for them is too much. Is his mom at home? How long does he stay? It sounds like autz is providing free child care.

A guest is a guest, even if he’s a nine-year-old. Who’s comfortable with that?

I’d never let one of my kids visit another kid every day. It’s an imposition, no matter how well the kids get along. I’m surprised his mom hasn’t come over to check things out, make sure what he’s doing is okay (which it’s not).

Yeah, this was pretty standard issue when I was a kid. We’d get kicked outside or at least to a backyard and told to come in before dinner- any time after dinner was sacred family time. What else would the kids be doing if they weren’t playing? I’d just be happy that I had kids who still enjoyed other people’s company and don’t want to just look at a screen all day.

My house is kid central. Any day I don’t have 2 or 3 extra kids hanging around is unusual.

I like it and don’t discourage it, and I’m glad that kids like to come here. Everyone gets a snack and a drink from the snack shelf, no snacks after 4:00- we close the pantry door.

We offer homework help, too. This works especially well if a couple of the kids share the same teacher- they can help each other. My kids like to do their homework after dinner, but the neighbor girls like to do theirs right away.

We shoo everyone off at dinner time, but they are usually ready to go then, anyway, for their own dinners.

I do have a 5 kid limit, if no other adult is home, in case of emergencies. The kids are good with this rule.

I have had only two kids over the years that are no longer welcome- that was tough.

It may cost us a little in snacks and drinks, and brown trampled grass, but I like having a house full.

My experience has been that once the rules get fleshed out and everyone knows them, it works out real well. Sometimes it’s the parents that need the rule training. We finally trained one mom to call us when she gets in instead of coming over- her kids are great but she drives us nuts.

Maybe you could have him come over after 4 and leave at 5:30.

Say no.

“Ronald, I’m sorry, the boys are doing their homework. I’ll have them come outside when they are finished.”

If he asks if the five year old can play, send them outside to do so (if you are comfortable with that).

Maybe you could try for a “two for one” rule? Two times he gets to come and play at your house, the third time he takes them back to his place to play.

Of course, you’d have to square that with the other parents too.

God, I have loads of tons of sympathy for you. I had this problem decades ago with my youngest daughters best-est friend. The best-est friend virtually lived with us. The parents would drop her off ‘for the weekend’ and then vanish for a week or two. Gah!!!

I just absorbed her into the family. The best-est friend is now 26 years old, and still calls me “Mom.”

You might want to nip this in the bud…Tell the lad that he’s only allowed to visit on X days on certain times. It’s your house, and you make the rules. That’s the neat thing about being a Grown Up; you get to make the rules.

When I was a kid I’d go to my best friend’s house right after school, almost every day. Me and three or four other guys who lived in the same neighborhood and had our little “crew” would always hang out there. We’d just ride the bus to his house and then walk to our own houses later. There’s nothing particularly extraordinary about the situation.

But if you don’t want him to always be there, I’d advise telling your kid to tell him, rather than telling him yourself. I don’t know why, I guess that’s just how I’d prefer to hear it if I were a kid.

Whatever happened to the good old days of running around playing after being cooped up in school all day, and then doing homework after dinner but before TV?

I agree with Lilith Fair - make Ronald do his homework with your kids. The 10-year-old can learn from helping Ronald and the 8-year-old can learn by being helped by him.

And, if he doesn’t want to do his homework during homework time, tell him to go home because it’s homework time and the family needs quiet.

Come to that, whatever happened to the good old days of 8-year-olds not getting homework?

To me, the missing piece here is - what is going on with Ronald’s parent(s)? Can autz talk to them? If not why not?

I like some of the suggestions upthread, but a lot depends on what the home situation for Ronald is.

(And I have a non-identical, but related, situation I may get around to posting about one of these days.)

Those never existed in my house. “Work before play,” bigtime. I still apply it now: I love being able to leave work early if my work is done (and yes I’ve had bosses who allowed that).

We had a pretty open house, but when I went over to my friends’ houses or they came to mine, we’d do our homework before getting to play (our parents all shared that rule). My brothers’ friends didn’t all have the rule; those in whose home homework got done right before dinner would, after a couple tries, figure out it was best if they only came over or invited the Bros over on the weekend. Otherwise we’d sit them all down and not let them get up until Homework was Done and checked :stuck_out_tongue: they all went to the same class (that means same teachers for everything), so we knew that if one of them had X homework the rest did too.

First thing I’d do is talk with Ronald’s parents, to set up some common rules and maybe an earliest time he can come over.

I feel a bit differently about this now than I did many years ago. See, about 10 years or so ago, I was in a similiar situation with both Hallgirls and their friends. Our place was the house where Hallgirl2’s boyfriend would hang out. He spent dinners, holidays, afternoons, evenings, etc. at our house. Carlos was a fixture on my front porch (when I wasn’t home–no guests in the house when I’m not home) and in my living room/kitchen (when I was home). Each evening, about 9:00, I’d call out that it was time to close down for the evening, and Carlos would head home. Sometimes if the weather were truly bad, I’d drive him the half a mile or so to his house. Too many times, I’d pull up to the house and there would be Carlos, perched on my porch swing. Internally, I’d groan, but I tried never to let on that I had the thought running through my mind, “Here he is again!”

Hallgirl1 was similiar with her friends. Our place was large and there was frequently one or two familiar, non-family face at the dinner table. I learned to cook for “extras”.

Ten years later, I look back at those kids who were fixtures at our house, and in many cases, I’ve gotten feedback from a lot of them. Our house was the “safe haven” for many. It was a place where they knew they could get something healthy and good to eat, some place where no one would yell at them (or worse), where someone asked how their day was and listened to their responses, where their opinions and thoughts counted. Some, like Carlos, actually had responsibilities while he was there (you eat, you help clean up), and I would always pester him about his homework. (Much homework was done at the kitchen table.)

I don’t ever remember closing the door to anyone, and although there were nights when we dragged out an extra mattress or sleeping bag, I felt guilty sometimes sending some home. I’m not saying that their home lives were filled with horror, but sometimes it helps to have another adult to act as a mentor or sounding board for a kid. (There were often times when I called a kid on his or her own behavior, but I could do that because I wasn’t a parent to them. Know what I mean?)

The long end of this, autz, is that if a kid is hanging out at your house, that’s a good thing. Your kids doing homework? Have him pull up a chair to do his. Your kids doing chores? Give the kid a broom. Would it be nice if he wasn’t there every freaking day? Probably, but until he feels comfortable enough to invite someone to his house, he’s at yours. At least you know where your kids are and what they’re doing and who they’re with.

I don’t think there’s anything weird about a kid from the neighborhood coming over everyday, but you do need to tell him your kids will call for him when they’re done with their homework. When he says he’ll play with the 5 year old till they’re done, just repeat that the other kids will call for him when they’re done and the 5 year old can play too.

CA3799 and phall, your posts really warm me. Growing up, my mom valued peace and quiet and thought of our house as kind of a haven. The fact that she taught squirrelly junior high kids may have contributed. So while she was polite to my friends when I asked them over, I never felt like we had an open-door policy and we certainly never had kids in and out all day. I really envied families who were more like what you describe.

Now that I am a mom, I’m not the warm-and-fuzzy cookie-baking type but I try to make sure my son feels welcome to invite over any other kids in the neighborhood. I don’t care if they go through half the juice or track a little dirt in–I want our house to be more like yours, and less like my childhood home. Of course, at the moment all the area kids we know are pretty well-supervised, so we don’t even have anyone overstaying or needing our house for a base of stability.

I don’t know what the right answer is for autz given Ronald’s situation and her family’s needs. But I’m really grateful for households like yours!