Becoming a parent to someone else’s kids is hard, and host of Survivor, Jeff Probst, has been there.

Whether you are becoming a step mom or a step dad, either role can be difficult to navigate, and each family is different. Kids In The House interviewed Jeff to hear his best advice for step parenting.

While he has no biological kids of his own, Jeff said he felt fortunate when he married into a family that had two wonderful children. He explained that while it wasn’t an easy or a simple transition, he loves his role as a stepfather.

He shared that building a strong relationship with the kids takes time and doesn’t happen over night. Jeff encourages parents to be patient and understanding during this process. It can become frustrating, but it’s worth it to wait for the right moments to connect with the kids.

“My advice is to not put yourself on the kids and give them expectations,” says Jeff. “Quite the opposite, let them know there’s no expectation and that you’re just someone else here to love them.”

He also encourages stepparents not to pressure kids to call you “mom” or “dad” right away. Jeff explains that at one point, the kids called him “Jeff Dad 2,” and now it has transitioned into them calling him “dad.”

Jeff shared that he was able to build trust with his stepchildren by listening to them and giving them advice when it was appropriate.

“I waited, and maybe it just comes down to waiting for the right situation,” explains Jeff.

The Survivor host said it’s important to remember that you are most likely not just co-parenting with your spouse, but you may also be co-parenting with your spouse’s ex and their significant other. You need to work together to help best support the children in the family.

“We would never say anything but compliments on how the other house is run,” he says.

Jeff also shared great advice for single moms dating with kids, especially if they feel like having kids is like having “baggage.”

“It’s not a baggage,” Jeff simply states. “If somebody thinks it’s baggage they’re not the right guy. The right guy will say, ‘Wow, you also have kids!’ That’s the right guy.”

For more advice, check out all of Jeff Probst’s advice on KidsInTheHouse.com.

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