This year, countless children will be spending at least part of their summer at one of their favorite destinations: their grandparents’ house. If you’re planning on welcoming your grandkids this summer, you’re likely thinking about how to fill those special days. Maybe you’re planning beach outings or trips to the museum; maybe you’re also dreading the mess or worried someone might get hurt. Find out how you can get your home and yard ready for those rambunctious kids (and how to get your home back to normal once they’re gone).
Start with safety
The safety precautions you take will depend on your grandchildren’s ages. For the youngest visitors, put any hazardous products (cleaning products, bug repellants) out of reach. Consider installing child safety locks on cabinets or drawers that should be off limits (a handyman can assist with installation if you lack the time or know-how). Test the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors before the little ones arrive. Outdoors, cut back any flowers, trees, or shrubs that produce thorns or brambles. If you have a pool, make sure the gate or cover can resist curious and persistent youngsters.
With older children, it’s important to respect their competencies and include them in your home safety plans. An older grandchild should know where the fire extinguishers and first aid kit are located. Set clear rules about what you consider safe behaviors for the swimming pool and enforce them. Climbing trees can be a great adventure and good exercise, but if your older grandchild is a bit of a daredevil, you may want to contact a tree service company to limit access.
Organize your home
Little visitors come with lots of things. Within 24 hours of the grandkids’ arrival, your home may be a whirlwind of socks, swimsuits, bike helmets, towels, iPads, sunscreen and cookie crumbs. Limit the chaos by organizing beforehand. Take this opportunity to declutter your home and improve how you allocate closet and storage space. Map out where your grandchildren will put their clothes, toys, electronics, and other belongings during their stay and develop strategies for keeping items from getting lost. Visit our home organization page for inspiration and expert advice.
Create areas for play
Think about how your home and garden will become a setting for active and passive play. If your yard allows it, create a flat area where your grandkids can run around, be it on grass, turf or gravel. Landscape designers may have creative solutions for a temporary play area. There’s nothing wrong with an occasional movie day during the summer, especially when the temperatures are too high or the air quality is too low to enjoy the outdoors. You may consider investing in a home theater system to keep the grandkids’ boredom at bay (and then enjoy a cinema-like experience on your own once they’ve left).
The Bay Area is chock-a-block with fun activities for kids. In fact, with all the zoos, amusement parks, museums, hiking trails and waterways nearby, the challenge isn’t finding something to do, it’s choosing the right option. Our summer survival page does a great job of laying out your options. A good strategy is to pick some activities that you know your grandkids will like and then try a few activities that are totally new for them. One fun thing about being a grandparent is the kids are sometimes more willing to try new things with you than they are with their parents.
The big cleanup
Before you know it, the grandkids will be heading back home. Once you’ve wiped away the last tears, it’s time to look around your home and assess the damage. The couch cushions are still part of a fort, the dirty laundry pile just brushes the ceiling and the kitchen countertops are mysteriously sticky. After spending a week making memories with your grandkids, maybe it’s time for a break. A house cleaning service can help get your home back in order. The end of summer is also a great time to deep clean your home. Enjoy the silence while it lasts—soon the grandkids will be back for the holidays.