For such tiny little people babies sure need a lot of equipment. For many parents, even the most basic baby gear includes a cot, car seat, swing, bouncy chair, books, toys, nappies and a variety of itty bitty outfits.
When visiting friends and family, parents often tote along a nappy bag filled with supplies along with a few of baby’s favourite soothers, such as a swing and a stuffed toy.
Home Away from Home
Many grandparents strive to create a welcoming environment for their grandchildren so that when they visit, they have all of the comforts of home.
This offers benefits for everyone: babies are happy because they have familiar objects around them, parents are relieved to be able to visit without packing up half the house, and grandparents are delighted to find that because the visits go so well for the babies and their parents, they are inclined to visit frequently.
Let’s face it, there are few things that proud grandparents enjoy more than bouncing their grandkids on their knees!
While it can be nice for grandparents to keep some baby supplies and gear at their homes, there are a number of factors that should be considered when choosing what to buy.
First off, for many grandparents who may have moved into smaller places once their children were grown and on their own, space may be a concern. If there is spare room, it may be limited, so equipment will have to be chosen with care.
Secondly, grandparents should consider how often the equipment will be used before spending a bundle of money.
Baby gear can get quite expensive, so while it may be reasonable to provide a fully equipped nursery for the grandbabies if they are in the care of their grandparents on a regular basis, it may be wasteful to invest in too much for occasional weekend visits.
Finally, it is important to remember that some purchases are useful for only short periods of time, such as bouncy chairs, which babies typically outgrow rapidly. Money may be better spent on items that have a longer period of usability.
What to Get
Often, the single best piece of baby gear to keep at the grandparents’ house is a cot or a portable crib. If possible, duplicates of baby’s favourite blanket can be used since that will help their naptime to feel comfortable and familiar (it’s also a good idea to use the same laundry detergent that mum and dad use at home to make the blanket smell “like home”).
After that, a feeding chair of some sort, preferably one that converts to accommodate babies well into toddlerhood is a good choice.
Sometimes, the choice about what to keep at grandma’s house is as simple as looking at the particular preferences of the baby. Some little ones just love the swing, while others prefer to lay back in a bouncy chair.
If only a few items will be purchased, it may be wise to wait and see what the baby likes most.
A few things that all grandparents can keep on hand are simple toys and books. Generation after generation, babies and young children have fun with dolls, toy cars, building blocks, and other toys that stimulate the imagination and encourage creative play.
Books are wonderful choices, too. Grandparents might want to keep copies of the books that they enjoyed reading to their children when they were small as well as visiting the library for a constant supply of new material.
In addition to equipment and toys, keeping a small stock of nappies, baby bath items, feeding supplies, and spare clothing can save parents the trouble of packing a nappy bag for regular visits. If the basics are on hand at the grandparents’ houses, parents can stop in without planning ahead.
In all matters regarding babies and children, safety is the most important consideration. When buying second hand baby equipment, grandparents should always check to be sure that it meets today’s safety standards.
This is especially important if grandparents are considering using a generation-old cot or other baby gear since these items are almost certainly going to be considered outdated and unsafe.
Even for more modern pieces, care should be taken to be sure that the products haven’t been part of a manufacturer’s safety recall.