How to Visit Friends With Small Children: 10 Things you Need to Know

I get it you’re just not that that into kids.

Thing is your friends have acquired some and now you’re forced to spend time with them.

You’ve hung out together when they were babies and that wasn’t too bad but now they’re walking and talking and doing, er, whatever it is they do.

When you don’t have any of your own to practice on hanging out with other people’s children can be a bit scary.

Fear not.

This guide features everything you need to know about kidlets but couldn’t be arsed to ask.

1. Children are fucking stupid.

Ignore parents who waffle on about how clever their kids are.

They’re sleep deprived and talking bollocks.

Imagine a big stupid dog, full of energy, bouncing all over the place.

Yeah well my kids are even more stupid than that dog. At least you can lock the dog outside overnight.

My 2 year old son still doesn’t know how to use a straw properly.

A straw for fucks sake.

Move your hot drinks out of reach and don’t give them anything with a pointy end.

Once you’ve got your head round this everything else makes sense.

2. Let them come to you.

So your best friend is now a mum/dad and you’re ready to be the coolest uncle/aunt on the block.

Unfortunately children don’t give a shit about the fact that you once saved Daddy from choking on his own vomit on a stag do.

So don’t try too hard.

Children don’t like adults who try to give them cuddles as soon as they walk in the room.

The more eager you are the more they will run away from you.

Conversely if you want to stay as far away as possible from them ignoring children is a big mistake.

My children have a built in homing device for people who want to avoid children.

The grumpy man in the cafe? Ker-ching!

That couple arguing on the train? Ba-doom!

So basically don’t give them too much attention but don’t ignore them either.

It’s a tricky thing to master but totally worth it in the end.


Your friends kids could be dicks for all I know.

Most 2 year olds are fully cooked after 20 mins on Gas Mark 4

Most 2 year olds are fully cooked after 20 mins on Gas Mark 4

3. Buying gifts is a minefield.

You know how hil-ar-ious you think it will be to buy a toddler a plastic trumpet?

Well it won’t be. It will be funny for precisely 7 minutes.

Then there will be tears.

Many, many tears as the trumpet is forcibly removed and hidden in the bin.

Followed by a weird atmosphere and questions about the time of your train home.

Try not to take offence if the special present you spent ages choosing is tossed immediately to one side.

Of all the beautiful gifts from close friends and family and my daughter became attached to a plastic phone that was free with a CBeebies magazine.

Best to explain that honestly you have no idea what children like so you brought wine instead.

Lots of lovely wine.

4. Children love repetition.

This is a good thing because it means as a visitor you only need one ‘trick’ to keep them entertained, for example: hiding a toy or pretend biting their toes.

It is also a bad thing because small children have the endurance of an ultra marathon runner.

They will literally NEVER tire of you hiding that rabbit.

Even when you are diagnosed with repetitive strain injury.

Don’t worry if it all ends in tears.

5. Everything ends in tears.

Small children cry all the time, over anything.

Because they are tired, because they are two, because they want the green plate but they don’t know what the colour green looks like so actually they really want the yellow plate which is in fact not a plate at all but a fucking cup.

Seriously how the hell is anyone supposed to know this shit?!

There is literally NO way to avoid tears.

Give them the red plate and don’t worry if it makes them cry.

Come and play with us

Come and play with us


6. Children can be magnificently rude.

Try to think of the worst thing anyone could ever say to you.

Then imagine someone shouting it loudly into your face in public.

Wait for the best bit!

You are supposed to laugh it off like it’s all a big funny joke.

And you can’t even call bullshit when the red faced parents tell you little Bobby doesn’t really understand what fat/ugly means yet.

Yes he does. And he thinks you’re it.

Whilst it is unacceptable to punch a small child in the face it is OK to think about it.

7. Never say ‘Should you be doing that?’

No they should not.

But they are.

And now it’s up to you as a responsible adult to stop them.

In this situation the best course of action as a visitor is to back out of the room quickly and pretend you haven’t seen them doing whatever they should not be doing.

Oh and it’s polite to offer to cook while parents do an emergency dash to the hospital.

8. Don’t ask parents to translate.

We don’t know what they’re saying either.

If someone speaks a foreign language you can usually guess what they mean by identifying a few key phrases.

This does not work for toddlers.

My son’s identifiable keywords are usually dinosaur, helicopter, biscuit.

I have NEVER seen a stegosaurus flying in emergency custard creams.

I have, however, developed a fool proof system for creating the illusion that I understand what small children are saying.

I call it the three R’s, every time they speak to you deploy one of these handy options.

React:  Say ‘Oh No! That’s scary/ big/amazing!’

Reassure: Reply ‘Well done!/That’s OK/ Not to worry’

Reward:  Give them a biscuit.

Using my system anyone can at least look like they know what they’re doing.

Should you be doing that?

Should you be doing that?


9. Early evenings are hell.

Photographers call the early evening hours magic hour or golden hour.

Parents call it something else.

The hours before bed are the noisiest, most distressing time of the day.

It’s when everyone in the family spits out their last bit of anger and upset.

If you are staying overnight this is probably a good time to check out the local pub.

If there is no pub sitting outside in the garden wondering how on earth the neighbours have never called the police is acceptable.

10. It is OK to blame  the children.

For bad smells or breakages or the fact that you and your best mate from college now have literally nothing in common.

It’s not you it’s them.

Oh and remember when parents say ‘They’re not normally like this’ it could mean that they are usually worse.

Enjoy your weekend!

Do let me know how you get on.

Don’t forget the wine.


If you liked reading this why not check out ’10 things you will do as a parent you will not like.’

34 thoughts on “How to Visit Friends With Small Children: 10 Things you Need to Know

  1. Literally spat my coffee out laughing whilst reading this (thank you – at least it wasn’t wine). Bloody hell you’ve got this parenting lark sorted – never stop dishing out your advice as it helps keep me sane 🙂

  2. Brilliant and practical advice… I don’t have kids of my own but there are six of various ages currently inhabiting my garden (turns out you *can* put them out overnight if you have a tent!) so this is very timely. Now I shall take your advice and supply myself with wine 😉

  3. Great advice. I used to escape my niece and nephew by hiding in the bathroom, climbing out of the window on to the flat roof then disappearing into my shed for a few hours. I do have one question though:

    > Don’t worry if it all ends in tears.

    Who’s tears, mine or theirs?


  4. Brilliant stuff, so funny, but I do hope you don’t use the f word in front of them, because that will be the first understandable word they will use.

  5. Your kidlets are SO cute. Love the photo in the lane! My 11 year old son and I laughed over this post in the car before his school production. Of course kids his age love anything sweary. ‘Kids are fucking Stupid’ really set him off. Thanks!

  6. I love this post, especially ‘everything ends in tears’, couldn’t be more spot on. Before having kids I’d panic if they cried, now, I couldn’t care less unless it’s that really screechy one when the ‘oh shit he’s hurt’ alarm goes off. Great blog x

  7. …never be the trained-and-works-with-kids childless friend. The one they don’t assume hates kids, but rather the one they pity (silently mouths ‘she’s had problems you know… having a baby…’).

    We get pounced upon (by both kids and parents). Pounced upon I tell you!

    I hear the pop of the wine cork go in the other room with ALL the other adults in it while I’m making piles of different coloured sticklebricks for the 200th time and I wonder the etiquette of screaming through to the dining room for some (but my work brain says ‘what a bad example to set!’ so I don’t). Mind you my steely “we DON’T do that now, do we?” is apparently a wonder to behold when used on other people’s little people. Maybe I should use it on whoever of my so called friends has accidentally had MY glass of wine while I was reading Peppa Pig to all the little beans. haha!

    • I used to be you… Now I have kids. Unfortunately, I still don’t seem to get any wine and now I end up with everyone’s kids AND my own (I’m even more qualified to provide the unofficial crèche, it seems). I am gutted that ‘teacher stare’ is less effective on my own kids (still works on others, but now I’m a mum I’m supposed to he more tolerant and not use it on other people’s kids anymore – what’s up with THAT?!).

      At least kids are still more interesting than shitty grown up small talk, which now I am no longer a ‘working’ (kids raise themselves, apparently) professional, means others assume I ONLY want to talk about babies…

      Love the one about wine. Really love that one 😉

  8. Pissed myself laughing at this! But seriously thank you on behalf of all adults that are so clueless they think they might be allergic to kids. While my mate put the kid to bed she sat my down in front of Harry Potter while her husband ignored me in the other room – like I was a 2nd child. So it wasn’t actually the kids fault we ‘drifted’ apart.

  9. You’re a genius! I don’t have children, and am always on eggshells around friends who do have them – I plan to print out your handy guide and distribute it around the rest of our group who are as yet childless, it’s brilliant!

  10. This is hilarious. I’m guilty of the ‘he’s not usually like this’, which happens mainly when he screams his head off at one of my friends. However, it is just her he hates. Pure vitriol. And she’s probably reading this blog thinking my son is a dick. Ha! Ace blog too xx

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  12. Great post! I’ve had this saved on bookmarks for a couple of days so glad I got round to reading!!! X I have the perfect person to share this with….my 22 yr old sister and 21(ish???) Yr old bf have just had a baby and r the first in their friends…..I think they wwill love this!!!! #honestyfromthebegining and all that shiz!!!!

  13. Our kids constantly disappoint us by behaving well when our childless friends come over. They love showing off in front of other people, and even when they were like 4 months old they slept well enough that we could put them to bed and have drinks in the garden outside like real people. They never do the stuff like losing it for 10 minutes because you didn’t zip their jacket up in one continuous motion, or doing a pebbly rabbit poo in the nappy in the kitchen and then taking it off and wandering around the house looking for you, leaving little presents in every room of the house. Oh no, they wait till you’re alone and outnumbered for that nonsense.

    But the hot drinks! Oh god, the hot drinks. This is why I need to move to be closer to their grandparents because they can’t be getting enough contact because they’ve all forgotten what small kids are like. Hi, nice to see you, oh they’ve grown, let me just sit down now and put a hot cup of tea, my fragile expensive glasses and my big handbag full of blood pressure pills and high strength opiates for sciatica on the coffee table within easy grabbing distance.

  14. Brilliant and all true, but you forgot the bit about half conversations! Never expect a whole conversation to take place, either with the kids or with the parents, it just isn’t going to happen. If you do try to teach a two year old the values of not interrupting, sorry must dash, my kid is trying to flush the DVD player down the toilet…..

  15. Sound advice and well constructed.

    Personally, I find that gaffer tape solves all child-based issues.

    It’s hard when your friend realises what you’ve done to their child, but hey, there are lots more people out there who could be your friend and many of them are childless. They also have wine.

    If gaffer tape fails, use more gaffer tape.

  16. I was the first to have kids in the family and I need to LISTEN all the advises of my single brothers.Finally it was their term buah hahaha. One of my brothers is very “do as the baby book says”. The first night he had his baby at home they did everything like the book says but still the baby was crying, so he run to the hospital. ha ha ha after the first 3 days with the baby in the house HE CALL ME AND APOLOGIZES FOR ALL THIS YEARS OF HIM BEEN AN ……………………….. (anything will do, put your own) :-)))) Sweet….

  17. Loved this – laughed a lot! Just one comment… Why don’t you use paragraphs? Full stops (periods) exist to perform a task, and then don’t need the “enter” key to be hit after each one. It would be more readable if you followed this simple tip. =)

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