For those who haven’t seen their young grandchildren for a while or are looking forward to having their grandkids stay over with them for the first time, it’s truly exciting. Getting to spend quality time with the little ones, create memories, and make up for any lost time will be so important to many of us. However, in the mix of all the excitement of grandchildren coming to stay, it can be easy to forget the things you will need to look after them properly and show them a good time. To help you get ready for the cherished occasion, this guide highlights some gear, items, and things to prepare for visiting toddlers.
Small children will have accidents, that’s accepted, but we still need to do all we can to make their environment safe. If your young grandchildren are coming to stay with you, you may realise that your home isn’t exactly suitable for clumsy and curious toddlers. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get childproofing to alleviate any major concerns. For example, are there low cabinets that need child locks? Sharp objects that need to be put away? Or perhaps you have a curved stair lift at home and want to consider putting up a guard rail. Have a good look around and see what you can do to make things more child friendly.
Making sure your home is safe for young children is something that Karen, a mum from the family blog The 3am Diary, shared with us as her top tip for grandparents: “When we visit my daughter's grandparents, we always get them to organise all their breakable items to make sure they're above child-height. They have quite a few expensive ornaments that tend to look exciting to young children and can be easily reached off tables and windowsills, so raising them up or putting them away is best for the safety of kids and ornaments! It's also best to check corners of tables - they have two glass tables with sharp corners that are dangerous for little people.”
Jane, from Bristol Grandparents Support Group – a group that champions Grandparents rights, spoke to us about her tips for grandparents, which include making sure the home is safe:
“It has been clear over the last year how important grandparents are in the lives of grandchildren.
Not being able to see and hug grandchildren is so painful, over two million grandparents won’t be seeing their grandchildren due to family breakdown, their lockdown continues.
“For those who will be welcoming their precious little people back in their homes, it is time to think about the sorts of things to have in your home for the safety and entertainment of busy minds. There are numerous safety fixtures and fittings available for peace of mind. Covers for electric sockets, fire-guards, safety gates, cooker guards and cupboard clips, it can be confusing when we are faced with so many different things, so keep it basic.”
Small children love to play. They have boundless energy and want to be entertained constantly. As a result, making sure that you have plenty of toys and things to amuse the grandkids with will be essential. They might bring some of their favourite toys with them but it’s never a bad idea to have some things ready yourself. Ask mum and dad what they enjoy and consider picking up a few bits and pieces. Children’s books are always a good idea, especially for bedtime; a cheap paddling pool for the summer will go down a treat on hot days, and you can have lots of fun with a ball or two.
Having plenty at hand to keep the grandchildren entertained is something that Helen, a mum from the family blog Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee, recommended highly when talking with us: “I would say one of the main things grandparents need to be prepared for is how to entertain the toddlers. They are on the move and into everything, so need distracting and plenty to keep them occupied.
“My parents have helped to look after my boys and nephews since they were tiny so have a LOT of children's stuff - some of it was even mine and my brother's from when we were children. They have toys, games, jigsaws, and plenty of books, so the children are never bored, and miraculously never seem to get up to mischief as they don't have time! They also have lots of toys they can play with outside when the weather is nice too.”
Mum Rebecca from the parenting blog Futures, told us that making sure that there is plenty to do outside when the grandkids come over is a must: “As a parent, I would definitely say games and things to play outside with. As children won't have seen their grandparents much because of the pandemic, all either side will want to do is spend time with the other. My two love playing board games or card games or getting out in the garden, playing football or jumping in the paddling pool. I definitely think this is what grandparents should get ready for their grandkids to come and stay with them.”
Jane, from Bristol Grandparents Support Group, adds: “As far as entertainment for grandchildren is concerned, I have a craft box which is full of all things needed to fulfil imagination. Modelling clay, paint and crayons are always great for fidgety fingers. Cooking with your grandchildren is always a pleasure, if somewhat messy. Playing with your grandchildren is building memories, memories that will be remembered for the rest of their lives. The most precious thing a grandparent can give their grandchildren is their time."
When it comes to feeding your grandchild, making sure they can sit at the table is obviously important. If you don’t already have an age-appropriate highchair or booster seat at home, make sure to grab one. You don’t have to break the bank, just make sure you have something that will allow them to comfortably reach the table.
It’s also a good idea to have a car seat to hand. If your grandchild is staying with you for a little while, there’s a good chance you might want to take them out somewhere and need a car to get there. So have a look at what car seats are available and get it installed in your car before it arrives so you don’t have to worry about it later.
You will also need plenty of food-related items for when your grandchild stays with you, not to mention the food itself! Find out from mum and dad what food the child enjoys and what they like them to eat, make a list and get the shopping in before they arrive. Also ensure that you have kid’s cutlery like knives, forks, and spoons as well as plastic plates and bowls that are the right size for them. You could also invest in a child’s cup that is spill-proof – toddlers aren’t always the most coordinated after all and pick up a bib or two as even at two year’s old dinner time can be messy!
Before the big visit, you will also want to make sure you have the sleeping situation sorted. Ask the child’s parents what they are currently sleeping in. They might not be quite ready for a full-size bed, even a low one. Some toddlers will be ready at 18 months, but some won’t make the switch until 30 months and beyond. Therefore, you will need to have a cot or travel cot ready so they can sleep safely. If they are ready for a big person’s bed, it won’t hurt to have children’s bedding at hand to make them feel welcome and happy when it comes to bedtime.
Bathroom visits are never simple when it comes to toddlers so getting all your ducks in a row for bath time will be advisable. Make sure you have children’s shampoo at hand and consider filling the bathtub with plenty of toys to make baths a more enjoyable experience. Boats and rubber ducks are always good, water-appropriate toys to include.
What about going to the toilet? Is your grandchild using a potty? Find out the situation and make sure you have a potty seat at hand. If they are still using nappies, obviously stock up on these too!
As you can see, there is plenty to take care of ahead of a toddler visiting their grandparent. But with a little planning and organisation, you can quickly get all you need to make their stay a success. Once all of the above has been checked off, you can look forward to creating precious memories with your grandchildren and sharing your home with them.
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This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.