It’s a blessing and a delight to have new grandchildren. Many grandparents specifically plan their retirement around choosing to help out as a babysitter during the week while the parents are out at work. This is a win-win situation for everybody – saving childcare costs for the parents and providing a new enjoyable way to spend retirement for the grandparents.
However, it’s usually been a long time since the house had to be baby proofed and if the kids are going to be over on a regular basis it’s worth making sure that the right kit is available at all times. Risks around the home are usually not visible until the crucial time when little ones have been let loose.
The living room is the first place to tackle. Stair gates are essential, not just on the stairs themselves but also between rooms – especially into the kitchen where hot pots and pans can cause serious injuries. Make sure that the gates fit the door frame properly and have a childproof opening system to stop clever little monsters working out how to open them!
A play pen is a great idea for a larger or open plan space. Rather than worrying about if a child can dash off, put all their favourite toys in the play pen and supervise with confidence. Although young children should never be left alone, it’s reassuring to know that they are playing in a designated area.
A beautiful open fire or wood burning stove is the heart of any country home, however it’s also a major safety risk and needs particular attention. A strong fire guard is essential and could literally prove a lifesaver. The dangers of fire should never be underestimated and, babysitting or not, fire alarms should be regularly checked and maintained.
Plan a schedule for the day for older children to keep an attack of the “I’m bored!”s at bay! It’s tempting to just stick the TV on and let that babysit the kids, but it’s not good for them to have too much TV. Treasure hunts round the garden are easy to organise and can provide hours of fun. Again, have a quick check of the garden for safety and be particularly vigilant around water and consider covering – or even removing – any ponds that aren’t particularly well loved.
But the key to safe play time is to have fun! Because a child who’s having fun is less likely to wander off and cause mischief. Keeping the children happy will guarantee better behaviour and a safer home: their favourite home from home.