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10 Rules for Homestays

Updated on October 25, 2011

10 Rules That Will Save You A Lot Of Headaches

As I discussed in another post "10 things you should know before getting a homestay" having a homestay can be enjoyable and profitable. That said, it can have it's share of headaches at times--particularly when hosting an adolescent.

Below are some simple rules that you can set at the beginning of the process to help keep everything orderly and respectful. Also, have a look at 'How to get a homestay student' for more helpful information.


It really is the best policy

Honesty is a big one. The host/homestay relationship, like any good relationship, is built on a foundation of trust. Both the homestay and the host have an obligation to be truthful with one another. This means, if one party is unhappy with something the other party is doing, it should be communicated. You are living under the same roof and doesn't it make life easier to have an open and honest relationship?

Communicate Plans

Where are you going?

Chances are the homestay will be out studying or with friends frequently during evenings. Let them know that they need to inform you if they will be home or late for dinner. It can be pretty frustrating not knowing whether or not to set another plate. And if it happens a few days in a row then saved meals in the fridge turn to thrown out meals in the garbage.

A simple note or text message can avoid this hassle, and if there's one thing teenagers know, it's how to text message.

Communicate CHANGE in Plans

Plans change all the time

Further to my previous point, plans need to be communicated if they CHANGE. "Late" can turn into really late or sometimes not home at all when the homestay decides to stay at a friends and not tell you. You have a certain level of responsibility to take care of the adolescent homestay and part of that is knowing where they are.

No Smoking/Drinking/Drugs

Zero Tolerance

Smoking, drinking and drugs. Many adolescents will try at least one of them. Depending on the personailty of your homestay, they may never try any of these, or they may try to bring them into your home. You can't control what they do out of the house but make it very clear to them that you will not allow it in your house. A zero tolerance policy with clear repercussions and a gentle reminder when they go out on weekends should help prevent this from happening.

Friends Over

Some or none?

This entirely depends on the relationship and level of trust you have built with your homestay. It is very reasonable to allow them to have friends over since forging new friendships an important part of any homestay experience. But should you allow them to have friends over when you are not home? How many friends at once and are they only allowed friends of the same gender? Again, the answers depend on your level of trust with your homestay but this is probably something you want to define early on.


Not fun

A curfew is not essential and varies depending on the age of the homestay. It should be determined though, with input from both the parent and the legal guardian. It is your responsibility to enforce the curfew. This can be an exhausting rule... literally. You may find yourself up in the middle of the night checking to make sure the homestay is in fact home. If you find yourself doing this, it's time to sit down with your homestay and reassert the curfew times and the repercussians of violation. And... NO SNEAKING OUT!

Lock Up

Friendly Reminder

It would be disasterous if your homestay left your front door open and you were burglarized. Or worse, an intruder came in when your family was home and asleep. Remind them to lock the door when they leave and when they come home. Also make sure the security locks are in place on their bedroom and bathroom windows.

Be Reasonable with Heat/Hot Water Usage

Friendly Reminder

As I mentioned in another post, "10 things you should know before getting a homestay", unexpected expenses can arise when hosting a homestay. Heating is one of those expenses. Setting a limit on the heat limit and/or requiring the homestay to turn down the heat when they are not home will go a long way towards keeping your heating costs reasonable.


Let's be reasonable!

A homestay is not unlike a tenant in an apartment. Would you be bothered if someone in the apartment next to you was balsting their music all hours of the day? You would probably approach them about it and ask them to keep th noise to a reasonable level. You have the opportuniy to assert this right to quiet from the begininning by including in the rules.


At your house and at a friends

Your homestay will probably want to sleepover at a friends house occasionally or perhaps have them over to your house. There are several factors that can affect your decision to allow this or not. The legal guardian should definitely be consulted on this one since the parent may have had some input on this.

If you do decide to allow sleepovers it is good to place a limit on how many. Working with the legal guardian, set a limit such as once a month and limit them to friends of the same gender.

Do you think these rules are fair?

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