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imagesThe needs of small children are basic: providing a place to sleep, keeping them safe, feeding them, and keeping them clean. What’s not so simple is being the parent that has to pack everything to provide for those needs when coming to visit family. If your grandkids will be coming over the river and through the woods, prepping your nest can ease the amount of packing needed, not to mention the stress when realizing something was forgotten.

If it is realistic for you to have a crib or pack-and-play available, it will be a relief for the parents to not have to bring it. It is recommended that parents and grandparents be aware of current crib safety standards from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (cpsc.gov) when considering sleeping accommodations. The site also lists safety considerations for borrowing pack-and-plays.

If you have more than one spare room, make one of them for the children. A night-light in the room is a helpful aid that grandparents can provide, but be sure your grandkids bring along that familiar blanket, stuffed animal or favorite sleeping companion to help a child adjust to the new, unfamiliar surroundings.

Safety is at the forefront of parents’ minds and extends beyond sleeping arrangements. If your little grandchild is moving up and around, you need to translate what that means for baby-proofing your home. For example:

  • Get things off the floor
  • Put breakables away
  • Cover outlets
  • Put up gates on stairs
  • Add cabinet safety pulls, especially where cleaning solutions are stored

The paraphernalia needed for feeding infants changes based on a child’s age. A mom who breast-feeds may appreciate a chair in a private room to feed her baby or may prefer just a cover. When bottles are used for formula or breast milk, having a bottle brush and drying rack will be indispensable. If your grandbaby has moved into pureed or solid foods, ask what their favorites are and have a supply of food available, along with bowls, spoons and cups. It is a huge help for parents to not have to pack bottles or sippy cups. Have a high chair or a travel chair that can be folded and stored available for use.

For those post-feeding messes by blow-out diaper or strained carrots, a wash cloth, towel and baby wash will come in handy. Ask for the name of the baby-friendly laundry detergent and have that available, as well. Not everything is necessary for each situation, so consider what items will be the most helpful based on the length of the stay and whether they will be arriving by car or plane. Remember that consignment shops have items at a fraction of the cost, and that diapers and wipes are easy to buy and greatly appreciated. There’s no way to help them completely avoid packing more when they’re traveling with a small child, but having a few key items for them when they arrive will help everyone enjoy their time together.