Get Ready – the Littles are Coming to Visit!

It’s been a few months since the grandchildren moved away – out-of-state.  Remember that day when my heart was ripped out?   They’re coming for a visit next week and needless to say I’m pretty excited about that.

Since we have no littles that live close by, we are trying to sort out how to maintain a grand-parenting home, given that the grandchild are only able to visit periodically, while still raising a teenager.  As much as I’d love to keep the (now) vintage Fisher-Price toys in the living room, it just doesn’t seem practical.  il_570xN.1220062575_236m

However, when the littles come, I want to be ready.   So I asked Go Grandma followers what they do to prepare for a visit from the littles.   What are the MUST-HAVES to make the visit not only more enjoyable for the littles, but also a bit easier for the moms?  We got some great advice.

This first bit of advice is from a mom of two littles:

Christy H. (Canada): For me and my kiddos: if it’s big, bulky or heavy, it’s awesome to have at the house we are visiting. That means high chairs (IKEA makes a great and cheap one!) and Pack’n’Play (cannot recommend the Graco one enough) are first on my list of wants at Gramma and Grampa’s house. We appreciate toys and books at the Grandparents’ house, as they take up so much room in luggage and new, special, grandparents’ house only toys and books are so much more entertaining than what we have at home. Strollers and car seats are fairly easy to travel with (they fly for free and if I’m driving, I have the seats already), so I would prefer to bring my own.

If kiddos are in diapers, it makes travelling easier (especially when flying) if I know there will be a box of diapers when I get there. That way, I only have to pack enough to get me to Gramma’s house.

I did invest the $19.99 in the Ikea high chair and was able to get a great deal on the Graco Pack’n’Play on Black Friday, which were both well worth it and have seen plenty of use.

I love this advice as well:

Jane G. (Canada): When (my little) was younger, we would child proof the house. Have his favorite books, make Mac and cheese….he loves it!

Child-proofing.  That is a really important thought. As your own children begin to leave home, we kind of forget what it’s like to have littles crawling around, and all of the things they can get into.  I found a great list of reminders here at the Baby Corner:

– Install childproof covers on all electrical outlets.

– Store household cleaners and medicines out of reach, and attach safety latches on cabinets.

– Post the number to the Poison Control Center where you can find it quickly. Keep medicines in the original containers so you’ll have the correct information available in case you need to call for help. Make sure all medicines have childproof caps.

– Keep your hot water heater set between 120 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid scalding.

– Buy pressure-mounted stair gates, but do not rely on them to keep your grandchild from falling down the stairs. With enough momentum, a good-sized toddler could dislodge the gate. Vigilance is always the best policy.

– If any of your furniture has sharp edges, cover the edges with corner guards made especially for that purpose.

– If you cook when your grandchild is over, remember to use the back burners on the stove and keep the pot handles turned toward the back of the stove. Place knob protectors on the stove knobs. Make sure no stool or chair is positioned close to the stove.

– Store your garbage can behind a locked closet door. Keep plastic garbage bags and sandwich bags locked out of reach.

– Remove small magnets from your refrigerator that are within reach of little hands. Keep on the lookout for any small objects that have fallen on the floor or that might be in reach of little ones. Anything that goes in the mouth becomes a choking hazard.

– Enclose your swimming pool with a locked gate. Make sure the slats in the fence are close together so no child can slip through.

– Install finger-pinch door guards and drapery cord wind-ups. Make sure all cords are up and out of reach when your grandchild is visiting.

– If you must own a firearm, remember to always store ammunition and the firearm separately and keep both under lock and key.

– Purchase a safe highchair or booster seat to use when your grandchild visits.

– If your grandchild will sleep at your home, purchase a crib with slats close enough together so a baby can’t slip through. (Check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for government regulations: http://www.cpsc.gov/.

– Remove blankets and stuffed animals from the crib; they can be suffocation hazards. Consider dressing your grandchild in a warm one-piece sleeper instead of using a blanket. Use only a fitted bed sheet that tucks snugly around the crib mattress. Remember to place a baby to sleep on his or her back only, and check on your sleeping grandchild often.

– Consider keeping bed side rails for an older child who is still young enough to be in danger of rolling off a bed and getting hurt.

– Check any houseplants to make sure they don’t pose a poison risk, and keep them far beyond the reach of children.

– Closely supervise your grandchild around any pet, regardless of how long you’ve owned the pet or who well you think you know the animal’s temperament. Even a docile pet can become suddenly aggressive.

– Regular home safety rules always apply, of course, whether a baby is present or not: Check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors regularly. Keep fire extinguishers handy. Tack down area rugs or attach backing that will keep them from sliding.

– Stay aware and informed! Visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for more tips.

– Spread the news: Show and tell your grandchild’s parents how you’ve childproofed your home so they will feel confident and relaxed when visiting. Invite them to offer additional suggestions. Make it a team effort!

I especially like the last one about telling your grandchild’s parents about what you’re doing to childproof.

Here’s a bit more advice:

Lorri S. (Canada): Baby Tylenol or something like it.  I’ve learned to keep some in the cupboard along with the emergency soother, emergency t-shirt, emergency underwear, and emergency blankie!

Nothing more difficult than a sick baby at grandma’s house – with no Baby Tylenol around.  My daughter-in-law always comes prepared for just about any baby medical emergency so we’re pretty much covered but still – those emergency situations seem to happen a lot.  That’s why I keep telling my husband I HAVE TO buy that cute little onsie from Wal-Mart or little jacket off the sale rack.  Be PREPARED!

Well, I’ve got some work to do.  Just today I noticed a bottle of Drano under the kitchen sink.   One of the littles just started crawling – so I need to get a new gate too.  At least I’ve had the good sense not to insist that my littles sleep in the same crib that their father and his siblings all used.  We just took it to the dump last year – 28 years after its first use.  It’s been a great ride, white crib, but you’re not good enough for my precious littles.

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