Practicing Hospitality When You Have Little Kids

In 1 Peter 4:9, we are called to “practice hospitality to one another without grumbling.” I love hosting family get togethers or having friends over for dinner, but it has definitely gotten harder since having kids. Below are some things that I have found helpful to continue practicing hospitality even in the midst of these little years.

  1. Keep the food easy. The focus isn’t on the food but on the fellowship. Although I love to cook from scratch, I have found when I am having a big get together sometimes I need to take some shortcuts for my sanity. One of my favorite time savers is to buy a Caesar salad kit. If you haven’t bought one of these before, basically it’s all ready for you! The lettuce is already washed and chopped in one bag and all of the toppings/the dressing are in separate bags. All you have to do is cut open the bags and toss everything together! If you are serving anything that you can buy premade (i.e. potato salad) and it’s in the budget, don’t feel bad that you’re not making it from scratch. If it will give you more time to clean or help you not be as stressed, it is worth it!
  2. Have some go to meals so you don’t have to spend any time wondering what to make. A favorite meal of ours when we’re hosting is burgers. Or in the winter, I’ve made a couple soups before with crackers/bread. Finger food is another theme we do often.
  3. Enlist your husband to help with the meat. Usually if we are having any sort of meat, my husband will do that on the grill and I will focus on making the sides. It also frees up the oven/stovetop if I have to heat anything up.
  4. Prep what you can ahead of time. During the kids naps/quiet time the day of the event, I will clean the counters and set out plates, utensils, serving spoons, etc. If we are doing burgers, I will prepare a plate with the tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, etc. and cover it in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge to pull out later. If there is anything that doesn’t need to be refrigerated like bread I will go ahead and put it out on the buffet line. If I bought anything premade like potato salad I will transfer it to a serving bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. The more things I prep in advance, the less time I will have to spend in the kitchen when our guests are here.
  5. Keep the cleanup minimal and do the dishes after your guests leave. Use paper plates, solo cups, and disposable utensils. I love to put the plastic spoons/forks in mason jars to make it cute but also easy to grab! I want to be able to devote time to fellowship instead of being in the kitchen too much of the get together.
  6. Have everyone contribute with a dish to pass. If it’s a large group or you are struggling to get enough food ready to feed everyone, let your guests know what you are making and have them contribute to the meal. If we are hosting a family get together, we usually will do the meat and bread and dessert and then the rest of the family will take care of sides and drinks.
  7. Don’t forget to ask if anyone has any dietary restrictions/allergies. Whenever I am scheduling a get together with someone new, I make sure to ask in advance if there are any foods to avoid.
  8. Don’t try to clean the house the day of. Clean a day or two before and then just do a quick spot clean and pickup. So that I can focus more on preparing the meal, I try not to leave too much cleaning for the day of. Also if your kids are older enlist their help in cleaning up! Also remember that people aren’t coming to judge the state of your house but to spend time with you! True friends will not care if there’s some dog hair in a corner or the kids have scattered their toys all over the living room.
  9. Don’t be intimidated by a small home. Set up a card table in the living room or serve finger foods so people can even sit on the couch while they’re eating. Or set up some folding tables and chairs outside if the weather permits. We have the perfect house for hosting now but our first house was tiny. But we didn’t let that stop us from hosting. Get creative!
  10. Consider holding onto outgrown baby toys/gear for when you host families with little kids. I plan to hold onto our highchair even after our youngest outgrows it so that we have one available if there is ever a baby/young toddler in our group. I also plan to keep some of our kids favorite baby/toddler toys even when they outgrow them so we have some options available for any age of kids.

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