Reluctant host

Dear Queenie,

  My parents live in the United States and visit us a couple of times a year. They usually stay with us and expect us to entertain them and take them places while they are here.

  This year they are planning one of their visits for just the time my children will be getting ready for their exams, but I don’t want the kids distracted from their studying.

  I told my parents all this and asked them to change the date of their visit, but they insist on coming right then.

  Queenie, how can I get them to change their plans?—Reluctant host


Dear Host,

  You parents may have very good reasons for choosing that date, but you have a very good reason for not being able to play host.

  Tell your parents that if they insist on coming at that time you are sorry, but they cannot stay with you, and you and the children will not be free to entertain them. Give them the names of several hotels and guesthouses where they can stay, and a list of day trips they can take and places of interest they can visit, and tell them you hope they enjoy their trip and look forward to seeing them the next time they come.