Just when you think it is safe to reclaim your home, along come the grandkids.
It’s not always easy for us grandparents, who have not had to think about safety locks on cupboards, or the dangers of low-lying glass ornaments, for years.
We may have been revelling in the enjoyment of being able to put things where we want to without these concerns. Not to mention the absolute joy of a house that stays clean for longer than 24 hours.
It can be easy to overlook the dangers, to our property and tiny hands and feet, of carelessly placed treasures.
The thing about grandkids is that they come to you having learned a different set of rules.
You may have had a tighter rein on the impact your own small children made on your home. Of course, you can choose to have strict rules regarding what your grandchildren can and cannot do while at your house.
GRAND DESIGNS – MAKING MEMORIES
However, for me and many of the grandparents I know, not having to discipline children too much is one of the greatest joys of grandparenting. At last, we can be the fun ones in their lives – the friends and mentors, instead of the disciplinarians we had to be as parents.
That takes some creative thinking, though, if you don’t want your home, and your treasures trashed.
I remember postponing purchasing a new lounge until our teenage sons flew the coup. It was supposed to be the payoff for dealing with the empty nest syndrome.
The theory was that it would look good for longer without careless teenagers and their friends constantly spilling drinks or leaving lidless markers on it.
Grandkids, even more than my own children, have taught me to let go of my attachment to the material things and design a life, and a home, that is people (particularly children) friendly.
GRAND DESIGNS – THE MISHAPS
This is a good thing too as, within weeks of that lounge being delivered, one of the Goddesses vomited all over it.
Shortly after that, there was a mishap with a leaking nappy.
GRAND DESIGNS – THE STAIN
More recently that very same (newish) lounge received the added embellishment of a big, dark stain, caused (we think) by a lidless marker that somehow made its way into the lounge room.
The Goddesses know that markers do not belong in the lounge room. I do have some rules. But they also know the rules at Grandy’s house are not that strict unless physical injury is a fear.
I showed the mark to the Goddesses and I could hear their fathers’ intake of breath as I did this. They were waiting for me to get mad. When I didn’t, they looked at me as if they were wondering who had kidnapped their mother and put an imposter in her place. I often get this look from them when dealing with the Goddesses.
This (not so little) stain on the lounge would have been cause for a major mumma meltdown, back in the day.
I don’t feel guilty about this. I was teaching my sons the importance of caring for what they have and trying to ensure they didn’t become part of a disposable society where carelessness and neglect lead to rubbish and replacement.
Grandparenting brings about a gentler approach when guiding the little ones towards wise choices.
Perhaps this is because we are not burdened with the responsibility of disciplining and are less likely to be personally judged for our grandkids’ behaviour.
So I turned the lounge cushion over, so you can’t see the stain and gently reminded the Goddesses to keep the markers out of the lounge room.
I try, as much as possible, to supervise the kids when they are using art supplies, such as markers. But as any parent, or grandparent who regularly looks after the kids, will tell you, you need eyes in the back of your head to avoid disasters.
You could be changing a nappy on the baby, or taking a little one to the toilet when her older sister decides it would be fun to draw while sitting on the lounge.
GRAND DESIGNS – CONSIDERING THE GRANDKIDS
Now we are planning a kitchen upgrade. I want to replace the tiles with a splashback. We did some research and found a company that offered composite splashbacks and had them send us a sample.
It was exciting as the claim was that they cost around a third of the price of glass splashbacks.
When the sample arrived I gently pressed a pen to it to test for scratching. It scratches easily.
So when we started getting quotes and one of the kitchen people was all for the composite splashbacks, I explained how that wouldn’t be practical with the Goddesses as one, or more, of them was sure to want to decorate by drawing a smiley face on it while I was busy elsewhere.
The kitchen guy said; “Well, don’t let them”. Clearly, he has never babysat more than one child at a time. He didn’t get the job.
When the first little Goddess was tiny, I remember telling anyone who would listen that I had no intention of rearranging my home to suit grandchildren. 🙂 Read my post, Coping with Kiddie Chaos to see my complete reversal on that stance.
I rarely make a decorating decision these days without first considering what impact the Goddesses will have on it.
BEST TIPS FOR HOW TO PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR GRANDKIDS
Any ornament you consider dangerous (like glass that could break and cut tiny hands) or super precious, should be displayed up high. You will find this gets challenging as the grandkids get older and taller. Some may even resort to climbing on chairs to get to out of reach treasures, so diligence is always needed.
Having a toy box to keep some fun activities in is a must. You don’t have to resort to an entire toy room, as I have, but you will find the kids look forward to playing with the special toys that are only at your place.
Have a basic craft box. You will be so pleased you have this when the weather is bad and you need a new distraction. Just watch out for those markers!
Get your grandkids involved in gardening by giving them their own little space, if possible. This gets them out of the house and gives them an appreciation for nature. Read my post, 7 Reasons You Need to be Gardening with Kids.
If you are planning to babysit on a regular basis (especially if sleepovers will be involved), consider setting aside a room just for them. The Goddesses love that they have their own room at Grandy’s. It’s a safe, familiar place for them to sleep during naps and sleepovers and a wonderful place to cover the walls in their artwork.
I have learned that the many safety items on the market, such as cupboard locks, are more of a hassle for me than a deterrence to the kids. They worked wonders with my own tiny tots, but I don’t have care of the Goddesses constantly enough to justify their annoyance to me. There is no substitute for careful supervision (says the lady with the giant marker stain on her lounge). 🙂
Above all, remember there are bound to be mishaps – breakages, stains – but in the end, it’s just stuff and the memories you are making and the legacy you are leaving is so much more important.
Happy memory-making and have a gleeful week, Tamuria.