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Children and their associated problems.
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Martha



Joined: 16 Apr 2006
Posts: 2276
Location: Chamonix

PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:09 pm    Post subject: Children and their associated problems. Reply with quote

Since we've switched to renting our little chalet, it has been booked pretty much constantly. It has one double room and one bunk room which is OK for an extra adult or two kids. We can accommodate another couple in the mazot (always rented with the little chalet as it has no kitchen, it's just an extra bedroom.

When we furnished our big chalet, it was all done with an eye to renting it - things are nice quality but rustic and can take some hammer without it being really visible.

The little chalet is much more refined in style as it was done for us, with hand made furniture and kitchen, and also the space itself is small, which creates its own issues for energetic kids.

We cautiously began accepting dogs with strict rules (we lived in there with two big hairy dogs!) and so far all is well.

However children have been quite a problem. Toddlers and babies are fine, we have safety gates etc, cots high chairs all free.

But we've just had a slew of 6-10 (ish) age kids that have caused real problems. Two deep scratches in the polished wood table, I don't think they will ever really come out. Sliding down the garden banks and ripping out young shrubs on the way down, after being told not to. Pulled threads and stains on the sofa covers (mostly removed but I can still see it). Running around under the eaves when snow slides were an issue was also a big worry, with the parents just shrugging and saying, oh kids don't listen.

Also a lot of people seem perfectly happy to just let them wander in our (unfenced, and I tell everyone before they book) garden, unsupervised. I saw two of them climbing up towards the railway line with their dad in hot pursuit fortunately. That family marked us down a star for location also. I guess I can see why but also, again, I do tell people!

Most recently a bored unsupervised six-year-old was found scratching letters in the soft wood on the side of our office :/ I think they will brush out but if it had been indoors it would have been bad. And actually they have all been good so far about only gentle swinging in our lovely copper swing ... but I found a kid playing a game throwing stones into it (the noise was horrendous! Where were the parents?) and of course they are grumpy about being stopped.
There are three glass doors that I heard slamming non-stop with one group (had to tighten them up afterwards but no other damage amazingly)

I remember from the big chalet that a lot of people do really switch off from child supervising on holiday. And there, it didn't matter. Almost everything could be sanded out or painted over. And I know how people liked that, they would say that it was great to know they could just relax and not be constantly supervising their kids. But I feel like it's only a matter of time before a really major incident in the little chalet.

Some of the things that happened in the big chalet (deep long scratches, chunks taken off stair corners, massive marker pen stains) could be over a thousand to repair or just impossible to ever fix in the little one.

Additionally as the weather gets warmer it does start to impinge on our privacy. Adults keep to their own part of the garden but of course kids go everywhere, and are often fascinated by the dogs and want to stay and play with them. That's sweet of course but not sustainable as we have stuff to do and also I just don't want to be someone constant child-amuser :/

A quick count up showed 16 bookings from Mid Dec to start April
3 with tinies (all fine)

6 with school age kids of which
2 were no problem
4 were trouble

The problem is that you can insist of behaviour rules for dogs but not kids! Very Happy And I feel like it's not totally fair to ban the lot anyway, because some families are fine.

I know it's not actually permitted to say 'no kids' in France. What I actually want to say is - well behaved kids only please!
but I'm seriously thinking of something like:

"We welcome babies and toddlers, and provide cots, high chairs etc for free. The chalet is not suitable for all children, especially from ages 6-12. The interior is small and some of the furniture is delicate - it is custom made for the space and could be damaged by rough treatment from energetic children, which would be charged for. There are open railings to both sets of exterior stairs, the garden is large but not enclosed, with a small cog railway (on a high embankment but fenced off) and a fast flowing glacial river very close by. Children must be supervised when in the garden."

Too misery-guts?

Has anyone had success with 'child rules'?

Who has gone 'child free' here? I found some old discussions but interested to hear updates.
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Chalet la Foret, Chamonix


Last edited by Martha on Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:50 pm; edited 2 times in total
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farley



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 155
Location: Poitou Charentes

PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Martha
No, I donít think your property description is too ďmisery gutsĒ.
As a parent I would be very grateful to have the important risks pointed out clearly by an owner.

We major on taking children but donít take dogs. We explain that being next to farm/livestock itís just too risky.

Itís a similar problem in that we shouldnít preclude dog owners from staying but ho hum, we make our own rules 🙂

In all seriousness, just do what is safe for your guests.

Iím sure others, who run child free properties, will be along to give more advice shortly x
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paolo



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 3957
Location: Provence, France

PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know a few houses that state 'no children' or set a minimum age varying between 6 and 13. While not legal, this is unlikely to be policed. An age limit would affect booking enquiries of course, especially in school holidays.

I think your wording is fine.
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zebedee



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 1240
Location: yorkshire dales

PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poor you Martha! I feel for you.
I have to agree. I accept dogs and never have a problem. School holidays in summer usually means families with children book and they can be awful.

What about a refundable deposit, or additional charge levied on the deposit, with the conditions for returning the deposit clearly in writing around the sort of things the children have been doing that are the most upsetting or irreparable?
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volcano



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 55
Location: Lanzarote

PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Martha - I feel for you. I had a similar experience. No matter how much you protect yourself, it just doesn't work. you only have the choice - children yes, or children no.
i chose no children. first with an age graduation, then none.
I have never regretted it. You don't have to worry that business will suffer. There are enough couples who like to travel in the high season and usually have difficulty finding something. They are very grateful and very pleasant guests.
I wish you the strength to assert yourself for your interests.
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AndrewH



Joined: 12 Sep 2013
Posts: 1496
Location: Kefalonia, Greece

PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:14 am    Post subject: Re: Children and their associated problems. Reply with quote

Martha wrote:
...Who has gone 'child free' here? I found some old discussions but interested to hear updates.


We just have a one-bedroom rental and we advertise it using such words as "suitable for 2 adults only", and hope the message gets across. At present the covid renting protocol here in Greece does not allow visitors (adults or children) to enter inside the villa and I let that rule be known, so there is not a problem at present. After covid, however, the prospect of half a can of coke spilt on the (non-leather) sofa will persist if there are children visiting.
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Marks



Joined: 06 Nov 2006
Posts: 2894
Location: Costa Blanca

PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My new apartment is advertised as adults only.

I do get the odd enquiry that starts...'I know you say adults only but little Johnny is very well behaved and brought up to respect other people's property...' Almost certainly the same people that own 'small well behaved dogs' Rolling Eyes
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Some guests just need a sympathetic pat. On the head. With a hammer.
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chipiechoo



Joined: 28 Sep 2013
Posts: 155
Location: SW France

PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have always stated clearly we are 'child free' for 14 years and stuck to that.
Only once has it ever been disputed quite strenuously and we pointed out that the reason for this was that we are on a D road, with no gate to the gite and vehicles travel at speed past the property, hence our concern for a child wandering Wink
It is a 1 bedroom property for 2 adults so that thankfully is the very guests we attract and what they obviously want.
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SPJ



Joined: 28 Dec 2015
Posts: 453
Location: Aquitaine

PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We too are child free. Before we were, I had a situation with a family where the (pretty careless) mother assured me her children (5 and 8 ish) would be absolutely fine with our dogs - we always check beforehand that people are ok.
I take each dog down to our guests separately to introduce them on the lead - they are then very well behaved. It was obvious the 8 year-old daughter was terrified and I could not risk anything happening, so our dogs spent a fortnight indoors and only out when on the lead. That was the last time I accepted children.
I'll take teenagers (13+) but again on the understanding that they are fine with dogs.
Whether it's legal or not, I would close my business if I could not make those sorts of choices, for the sake of our guests as well as us.
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Martha



Joined: 16 Apr 2006
Posts: 2276
Location: Chamonix

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much everyone, this has been really useful! And encouraging. It's always interesting to read about different properties which work better for different groups of people.

So we have decided to take the plunge and try it. If it's a disaster we have plenty of time to change. We are going to have some kids anyway because we have a lot of people who want to rebook from winter, luckily they were all OK.

I think most people just want to know the basics, not read an essay Ė so we are adding to the general info:


Babies and tots are welcome, but La Petite Foret is not suited to children aged 6-12. It has a small and beautiful interior with custom made furniture and textiles, and an open layout garden with no enclosures. If you think you would enjoy a relaxing holiday here with children 6-12 please contact us for more details.

We welcome babies and toddlers, and provide cots, high chairs etc for free.

_____

I think most families will get the message from this, and it makes it clear we are not unfriendly to families I hope. And then this is the info for anyone that wants to book with kids.

_____

Thank you for thinking of La Petite Foret for your family holiday! Here's more info for you, and you can decide whether or not it would be suitable for your family.

The Interior

___________________



We work hard to make this a beautiful space for people to enjoy, and we understand that itís right for the whole family to want to relax when on holiday, so this space is not going to work for all families at all ages. The interior is small and some of the furniture is custom made for the space and not designed for rough treatment. We have original art on the walls, and the wooden surfaces of the chalet and the fabrics in it can be permanently stained. It is not a space suited to the play of excited children, and damage to any part of the chalet or garden would be charged for.

The Garden

___________________


The chalets face in opposite directions and there is ample room for you and us to have plenty of space and privacy, in both lawn and wooded areas. However, energetic young children inevitably want to explore the parts which are not in view of their parents and therefore more interesting! This is not ideal for either of us.

Our hand-made copper seats are for reading and restful swinging not exuberant play, and could be easily damaged, as could plants and other objects in the garden. 
 Children **must** be supervised when in the garden.


The Hot Tub
___________________

The hot tub is neither a swimming pool nor a play pool for children. Standard safety recommendations are that children under five should not use a hot tub, and older children should not have more than 20 minutes at a time in it, always supervised.

Hours of use with children running in and out is not what they are designed for, not what their safety features can cope with, and is not permitted.
- The filtration cannot cope with feet tracking dirt in and out, raising the risk of bacteria in the tub
- Active play in the tub can quickly become extremely dangerous - a hot tub is a large space for a child, they do not see or anticipate the seats just below the surface, especially when excited. There is a serious danger of accidents due to jumping or diving.
- The suction of the pump makes it unsafe for them to submerge
- The chemicals are much stronger than in a swimming pool and harsh on a childís skin
- The high temperature can cause overheating and dehydration.


General Safety
___________________

The hot water in the taps is very hot, and there are long cords to open the blinds. There are open railings to both sets of exterior stairs, the garden is large but not enclosed. Nearby there is a small cog railway on a high embankment which is not fenced off, and a fast flowing glacial river. Children must be supervised when in the garden.

___________________

We want people to enjoy their time here and you may well feel that somewhere with a fully enclosed garden and more robust decor leads to a more relaxing holiday, which we completely understand Smile

If you'd like to go ahead, or would like more information on any point, just let us know.
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Chalet la Foret, Chamonix


Last edited by Martha on Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:48 am; edited 2 times in total
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Martha



Joined: 16 Apr 2006
Posts: 2276
Location: Chamonix

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Incidentally Farley, I agree 100% about no dogs if you have livestock around. My friends' dogs were just shot and killed because they got through an open broken fence into a livestock field. And she is a highly responsible and careful owner, no livestock were hurt, they are well trained in general and were already on their way back after being called.... of course the farmer is within his rights legally but it was a dreadfully sad combination of circumstances.
I hate to think of the results of dogs, livestock and 'holiday brain' as a combination.
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SPJ



Joined: 28 Dec 2015
Posts: 453
Location: Aquitaine

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder Martha whether you need to go into so much detail? You are saying that your place is not appropriate for children. One thing to make that clear, but is there a danger you make people nervous about staying with you in case they damage your furniture?

I'm surprised you think up to 6 is fine - not that I had kids, so I don't know, but what about the terrible twos? And at what age do they begin to use beds and sofas as trampolines?
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Martha



Joined: 16 Apr 2006
Posts: 2276
Location: Chamonix

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree it would be way too much for general use! The long detailed bit is only in case someone asks to book with kids and then needs that specific info.

So in our listing it's only:

____

Babies and tots are welcome, but La Petite Foret is not suited to children aged 6-12. It has a small and beautiful interior with custom made furniture and textiles, and an open layout garden with no enclosures. If you think you would enjoy a relaxing holiday here with children 6-12 please contact us for more details.

____

Toddlers I know can be very difficult but we have had lots of tiny kids staying here and so far no problem at all with any of the under-fives. I think that people just do not take their eyes off them, is the thing. I think people with a destructive toddler know all about it and just wouldn't rent this place. I could be proved wrong yet!

The problems we've had almost all to do with lack of supervision of older children.
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volcano



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 55
Location: Lanzarote

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hm... a family with 3 kids - one is 13, one is 7 and the other is a baby. What are you doing?
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SPJ



Joined: 28 Dec 2015
Posts: 453
Location: Aquitaine

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

volcano wrote:
hm... a family with 3 kids - one is 13, one is 7 and the other is a baby. What are you doing?


Obvious - regretfully saying your place is not appropriate.

I did exactly that with a family recently - two children, 13 and 9, so apologised and said our place was not right for them.
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