Everything You Need for Camp Grandma
Grandma, Lovey, Mimi, Nana, picture this: You just hung up from a conversation with your daughter-in-law during which you agreed to have the grandkids come to your house for “Camp Grandma” while your son and daughter-in-law jet off to Napa for a weekend away. You are so excited to spoil those little angels while the parents are away, but you are left wondering how you can be sure they are comfortable and safe in your house without all of their usual gear. What baby and toddler stuff do they even use these days? And if you buy a bunch of stuff, what will you do with it in between visits, or will they grow out of it before it is ever used again? You want to ensure a safe and happy time for all, but you don’t want to spend a fortune. One new option that wasn’t available in years past is to rent items from neighbors or companies nearby. We find it’s best to rent anything that has a high initial cost, will be cumbersome to store in between visits, or will only be used a few times before they’ve grown out of it. The good news is, with the help of our list, you are only a few clicks away from being fully prepared to enjoy the time together and have everything you need at a fraction of the retail cost.
- Infant to 2 or 3 years old: Pack ‘n Play. This is an easy solution for naps and nighttime in lieu of a regular crib. Most moms have one of these, but it may not be possible to transport it to your house for this trip. Upfront cost for a basic one isn’t excessive, but it will probably only be used a few times before the child can climb out of it and it is no longer useful. Rent here if you don’t have space to store it in between visits.
- 3-5 years old: Nap mat. Once they can climb out of the pack ‘n play it is not really a safe sleeping space. Most kids who attend Mother’s Day Out or preschool use a nap mat during their rest time. Ask the parents to bring this along so kids can sleep on the floor if they’re still just a little too young to sleep in a bed raised off the ground. Or just grab one of these inexpensive ones from Target.
- Pro tip: Use a pool noodle, inserted under the fitted sheet, as a temporary bed rail if you’re nervous a child might roll off the bed!
- Infant to 18 months: High Chair. It’s easiest to strap a young child in to a high chair so that you know they are safe while you prepare and serve meals. Grab either a free standing one or one that attaches to your dining table, depending on your set up.
- 2-3 years old: Booster Seat. A booster seat can help a toddler sit higher at the table while still using a typical dining chair. Be sure to secure it according to instructions to be sure your active tot doesn’t take a tumble while reaching for his drink.
- Pro tip: Unbreakable dishware. Melamine dishes will survive many years and are dishwasher friendly! You’ll thank us for this one!
- Comfort Objects: Make sure to ask the parents to bring any specific comfort objects, blankies, or special toys like Sophie the Giraffe.
- Toys: Get ideas for and rent age-appropriate toys here. Look into a toy library like Toybrary Austin that allows a short term membership for borrowing a bag of toys and trading each day for new ones!
- Bikes and Scooters: Kids of all ages can enjoy bikes and scooters, just ask parents about their skill level before selecting a tricycle, pedal-less bike, bike with training wheels or regular bike.
- Outdoor Games: These giant games can keep kids off the iPads and engaged for hours.
- Pro tip: For an extra special day of fun, consider renting an inflatable slide or bounce house! This is something you definitely don’t want to purchase because of the initial expense and they are a bear to store, but would provide hours of fun during their stay!
- Infants up to 20+ lbs. Infant Car Seat: It is crucial that all car seats are installed and used to manufacturers specifications. Today, many infant car seats can be used rear-facing until the child is 22-29 lbs, and it is very likely your children will bring this type of car seat with them no matter how they travel. Often, the seat can slide right into a “snap ‘n go” type stroller so this would also be helpful for the parents to provide for any outtings you take!
- 1-2+ years old. Convertible carseat: These can be used until a child reaches 35-50 pounds depending on the seat, so again, be sure to check manufacturers instructions. The parents will likely provide this type of seat because they can be very expensive, but if travel conditions require they come without, rent one here. Current recommendations include rear-facing for as long as possible, at least until 2 years old. This is a hot topic in mommy circles, so be sure to have a conversation with mom and dad about their preferences and again, always follow manufacturers instructions.
- 4-8+ years old. Booster Seat: Chances are, by this age its much easier for you to have a booster seat waiting for them when they arrive and it’s up to you whether you think you will use it enough to purchase your own to keep on hand. Always go with the high back booster because that back can eventually be removed, leaving just the seat when the child is tall enough for the seat belt to rest at the appropriate height across their chest and shoulder.
- Pro tip: A jogging stroller can be used to cruise the neighborhood, go to the park or even get around at the mall. Its a great option for kids ages 6 months to 6+ years old and will save your back from the child who just.can’t.walk.another.step.
We hope this list serves as a valuable guide as you prepare for Camp Grandma! But if you’re still overwhelmed, check out our Grandparent Bundle or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a specific bundle custom designed for you! And keep in mind that children care more about the time you spend with them than the things you buy them so #collectmemoriesnotstuff.