Preparing your home to babysit your grandchildren can be overwhelming! So let's get started....
What do you really need in your home?
Before you can answer this question, you must know how often you are going to be babysitting your grandchildren? Do you live close? I will call you the designated babysitter. Or are you a Long-Distance Grandparent that is preparing for an occasional visit?
I would suggest that you have these discussions early on in the pregnancy since sometimes, grandbabies decide to arrive early!
In our case,my daughter was hospitalized 10 days early, the boys were 6 weeks early and then in the NICU for almost 6 weeks.
Since most of my time during those 7 weeks, was spent with my daughter and her family, I still needed to purchase items! We did attend a local consignment sale which helped fill in a few of the gaps that we still needed.
So what baby items do you need to prepare your home when you live close to your children and grandchildren?
Yes, this home preparation will be an investment in various baby items. Since you will probably be babysitting more often than planned, I feel this will lessen the burden of your children always having to carry items with them.
Do you remember when your children were young and you seemed to be "moving" when you would take a short trip.
By purchasing these few items for your home, this will allow you to have your house and car ready at anytime for a visit or to travel with the children. Remember it is a great investment!
do you need in preparing your home? On our list we felt these were the most important: a
stroller, car seat, portable bed, high chair, bouncy seat and a few
additional supplies for our twin boys.
I tried to show pictures of the actual items we have in our car and home, but some items were wedged in a corner, in the back of the closet or ready to go to the attic! Then, I borrowed a similar picture from the manufacturer's website.
Of course, this is the newest market sample and our stroller was a different color. However, This stroller is wonderful for taking the twins on a short walk! Best of all, it was FREE!
One of the first items that our daughter surprised us with was a Graco DuoGlider LX stroller! Yes, she is a member of their women's neighborhood group near her home and a Mom with Multiples had decided to give away her one year old Graco Duo Glider to the first Mom that called!
Graco Car Seats
were selected because these car seats met the APA specific guidelines for babies under 4 pounds.
Car seats use must follow very strict guidelines. New advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) changed the way many parents buckle up their children for a drive. I copied this new policy published in the April 2011 issue of Pediatrics (published online March 21), where the AAP advised parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat which is usually 35 pounds. It also advises that most children will need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
When you go to the baby box stores, you will find a large assortment of models and types of car seats. Let your children decide on the car seat that is appropriate for your grandkids.
Our expectant parents bought car seats that had base attachments. Then bought us one base and we bought the other base attachment that would go in our car for transportation. Remember with twins, we have to buy double! So if we needed to take the babies to an appointment, we just need the car seat. This made it much easier and safer, than trying to transfer the large car seats each time.
Now the babies have reached a weight where they will have to go in a larger car seat. Instead of buying additional seats for us, we have discussed just switching cars if we need to take them to an appointment. However, if one of the twins becomes ill or there is an emergency situation, we can still use the original seats.
Beds at Grandparents
This portable bed is a Graco product and is a convertible style where you can have easy access to a small baby and then once they are at the crawling and sitting stages, you lower the mattress.
Caution: never put anything in this Pack and Play while child is sleeping. Very convenient and easy to move from room to room or home to Grandparents. Other models also have changing trays for the tiny infant.
What do you need when preparing your home?
Baby Bed or a Portable Beds is another purchase that you should consider if you are going to be
babysitting frequently. We purchased the same Pack and Play that our
children did. It makes it familiar to our grandsons when taking those
(so important--to you and them) afternoon naps. There are also
guidelines for these beds too. Remember, don't put anything in these
beds while the child is sleeping.
As discussed earlier, when preparing your home, you won't be able to use the antique beds your children used. The beds won't meet the current safety standards so this purchase is almost mandatory. These portable beds are also a safe place where you can set the child if you have to be out of the room for a moment.
A bouncy seat is used to sooth a crying child or a safe place to put them while you prepare dinner. The mobile will also attract their attention and the music/vibrator buttons are great features too!
Another purchase to consider when the child is very young is a Fisher Price Bouncy seat. (Caution: don't leave your child in a bouncy seat all day! In my opinion, this can attribute to a flat spot on the back of the head.)
These bouncy seats can be used while you are making dinner or soothing just before a nap. We used ours as a second high-chair until we were able to locate another high-chair. These seats often come with settings for vibrations and music. There are also toy bar mobiles that hang across the seat that will get the attention of your grandchild and help to build eye-hand coordination.
Remember to purchase a floor mat that our grandsons have played on since two months old. This mat has a toy bar filled with fabric toys, musical items that play automatically, fabric/plastic mirror to look at themselves, and plastic plates that have animals on each side. Oh, so much fun to watch them investigate each item by laughing or hitting this floor mat.
When baby learns to sit alone, you can support him with the Bumpo designed chair.
This will keep his back straight and keep him from slumping over. This can be used during playtime and bath time.
Last item to consider purchasing when preparing your home is a high-chair.
Make sure that you purchase an age appropriate chair that will give
your grandchild the support needed while eating.
Fisher Price Space Saver High Chair
makes it easy for Mom or Dad to feed the twins!
As you can see,
these items can be costly, but if you purchase the equipment or furniture at a consignment
sale or garage sale, you will find great savings! My husband ordered a high chair online and then he is in the process of refurbishing our children's high chair from 30 years ago.
Also, when preparing your home, you will need those assorted baby supplies that we all remember.
Any questions, please check with the parents for their preferred brands that you use when "preparing your home" for babysitting your grandchildren!
I would say, every dollar that you invest in keeping your grandchild, is well worth the investment of preparing your home!
I hope that you enjoy those special times together!
Whether you are a grandparent down the street or a Long-Distance Grandparent that only sees your grandchildren occasionally, you will need to prepare your home. So here is a beginning list that will be updated periodically.
American Academy of Pediatrics: guidelines for car seats