How to Help Your Grandchildren Feel at Home When They Visit
Almost every time I see my grandchildren, they ask “When can we come to your house?” It doesn’t matter whether I’ve been in an apartment or an actual house; they love to come visit or spend the night with me. Here’s how to help your grandchildren feel at home when they visit.
I’m definitely not one of those grandmothers that goes overboard! In fact, I really try not to go too crazy or buy too many things. I’m something of a minimalist myself and I just don’t want to buy a bunch of toys and stuff that is easily forgotten.
Plus, I really don’t have room to keep a whole lot of children’s things at my home. However, I do think it’s important that I have a few things here that help them feel comfortable. Their parents appreciate how EASY it is to visit with the kids or to send the kids over!
Over the past few years, a few things have really helped make my home feel home to my grandchildren. Some are things that I still had from when my own children were young. Others,I just bought them as I needed them, but they really have helped them enjoy their time at my place even more.
Having a few things always at your place makes it easy to have your grandchildren over for a visit. They don’t have to pack a lot of things when they visit—just their PJs and clothes for the next day if they are staying overnight.
Buying a carseat for my own car was such a game changer. I really wanted to be able to be spontaneous with my granddaughter but having to move a car seat was a bummer. I finally decided that I would just get my own and have it ready. It is so nice to be able to plan something and just go pick up my granddaughter. We don’t have to move her car seat out of the family car anymore!
And now, it’s “hers.” She really likes that she has her own car seat in my car and is comfortable with it. It has a place for her drink and she gives me helpful advice on adjusting the straps.
This is easy to customize! I keep it pretty basic—a toothbrush for each grandchild, toothpaste, sunscreen and detangler. Everything else I already have. But you could have bug spray, deodorant, bubble bath, soap, or whatever is easy to keep on hand for your grandkids. It really depends on if they spend the night or on what activities you usually do when they are over.
I also keep child-appropriate over-the-counter medication on hand. My oldest granddaughter has some allergies and I always have a bottle of the allergy medicine her parents use for her.
I don’t go crazy here either, but I do like to keep a few toys for them here. One of their favorites is their mom and aunt’s old Barbies. I didn’t keep a lot of the old toys but thank goodness, I held on to these. The little girls love them.
But I’ve also bought a few newer things to have on hand. Whatever your grandchildren like, try to have a little bit of it around. If you’ve saved things from your own children that works great too!
With my oldest granddaughter, we connected over books. I am a fan of FREE and we would hit up the library when she would visit so she would have books to read. While she loves Grammy time, she also loves to have some down time to read before bed.
However wonderful the library is, it’s fun to find new books and series. On Amazon, we found some series that she really loved! That was more of a special treat rather than every time she visited.
Amazon is also a great place to buy nice books for presents. My oldest granddaughter has the Little House books, Anne of Green Gables, and Harry Potter books. You can buy these, one book at a time and help your grandchildren build a collection of their favorite books.
Don’t forget your local bookstores either! Most towns have bookstores for new and used books. It’s fun to take your grandchild out to look for their own book as well.
Their Own Plates and Cups
My oldest granddaughter, at ten, gets what the adults use now.
Her little sister still loves her own plate and cup—plastic of course! I’ve found these in the grocery store or stores such as Target. They are usually quite inexpensive and hold up really well. Plus, you can often find their favorite character on them.
I keep these in a drawer my granddaughter can reach and she loves to get out her own dishes to set the table with when she visits.
When my kids were young, my mother-in-law kept a high chair at her place for them to use. Can I just say, “best mother-in-law ever!” It made it so easy to have meals there because our baby always had a place to sit.
I don’t have the space to keep a high chair, so we all take turns juggling the baby at the table. But if you have the space and the budget—get a high chair!
From my experience, almost all kids love to help in the kitchen. This particular cookbook is a gem. It is spiral bound and lays open and is just beautiful. I’ve bought multiple copies for great-nieces and nephews.
Even if you are not a cook, get this book! These recipes are easy but kind of cool. I like that there are plenty that fit in with many types of eating. I promise you that if you have a young budding chef, they will get a kick out of trying some of these recipes. And you’ll have fun too
Drawing and Craft Supplies
When I was a kid and would visit my grandmother, she would pull out the crayons that seemed to be ancient and give us some paper napkins to color. I’m serious, old crayons and paper napkins. But since we were required to sit on the couch and be quiet, it was better than nothing!
A pack of markers (washable of course), some crayons, and paper and you are good to go. My granddaughters love making cards for people’s birthdays and any other occasions.
If you want to get fancy, have some craft supplies as well. You know, glue, tape, and scissors.
Another must for the under-five crowd is a stepping stool. While a fold up one is handy for storage, it’s not as sturdy as a non-fold up stool. I keep one that I can easily move around.
It’s handy for my granddaughter to stand on to wash her hands or for when she’s helping in the kitchen. At night, I just move it upstairs so she can use it there too. I like to use one like this because it has a sturdy base, is wide enough she can stand on it safely, and is eight inches tall which really helps with being able to reach.
Pillows and Blankets
I have some Emoji and Shopkins pillows for my girls. This one seems kind of silly, but the girls LOVE these pillows and they love having them at my house. I only bought a couple, but they get a lot of comfort from them. Even though they love staying with me, they always miss their parents too. For some reason, these soft friendly pillows give them comfort at night.
To tell you the truth, I love them too. When the girls aren’t here, I like seeing the pillows because they remind me of their visits!
You could instead have special stuffed animals or blankets instead. The important thing is that it is comforting to your grandchild and that it stays at your place.
At home, my granddaughters always have a nightlight (or two or three). This is important to them! Combined with a few books, their special pillow, a night light helps them feel comfortable sleeping at my place.
Plus, in a place they only sleep there, once in a while, it really does help them feel more comfortable. And I know that if they wake up, they won’t be afraid.
A Few of Their Favorite Foods in the Freezer or Pantry
My granddaughters eat real food at home. They are fortunate to have a dad that makes/cooks three meals a day for them. I don’t keep sweets or junk food on hand, but I do try to keep a few things that they can eat here.
In my freezer I have some gluten-free chicken nuggets and some French fries. I also have some dairy-free ice-cream. In my panty I keep some peanut butter and gluten-free crackers. Not enough to feed them for a week—but enough to have a snack or one easy meal.
How to Help Your Grandchildren Feel at Home When They Visit
Every time I see my granddaughters, they ask “When can we come visit?” It’s a thing! Even though I have a minimum of toys and snacks, they still love coming to stay with me. Part of it is because I really do try to be An Awesome Grandparent and An Unforgettable Grandparent. But a big part of it is because I have things here that make them feel at home.
You don’t have to do it my way! I want to inspire you to do it your way and the way that works best with your own grandchildren. And I didn’t have this all in place overnight. But with a few years of experience under my belt, I’ve discovered that my home has become a place my grandkids also feel at home.
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Hi, I'm Sara and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having.