Visiting the grandparents for Christmas? Here are some top tips and packing lists that have brought the Christmas Magic to my little ones faces: Don’t forget to pack these things for a great family Christmas!
What to pack
Whatever the age of your little one you need to have the right sleeping kit. Basic items are the items you need , whatever age:
The wash bag
- Tooth brush and toothpaste ( age appropriate) if they have teeth.
- Body wash
- Talcum powder
- An emergency first aid kit with Calpol and Nurofen sachets, a stick on cool strip, cartoon plasters and cleansing swabs. and bravery stickers!
- Favourite cuddly toy
- Bed time story book
and if you are staying over on Christmas eve – their Christmas Stocking!
The rest of the kit that you need to pack depends on the age of little one. Here are some must haves.
Visit the Grandparents with a newborn-6 month old
Grandparents may have saved all the baby equipment that they used for you/your other half when you were growing up. This is really cute and can sometimes be used. But some of it may not be as safe and as user friendly as new equipment. Be on the safe side. Make sure baby and you are comfortable and not on edge over the Christmas holidays. Here is your packing list:
- Little ones feel more secure if they are wrapped up, and they sleep more soundly as it is similar to the close cuddle they have in the womb. There is also medical evidence that there are health benefits for hip development gained from using a Baby swaddle
- You may want to use a big travel cot from the start. If you want to keep it small the Koo-di Pop up bassinette , or similar, is super easy to use, fits easily next to your bedside, and is comfy for baby to sleep in, safe and sound.
- Those late night feeds will mean someone getting up and feeding little one before they howl the house awake. The answer is a quick and safe Bottle warmer
- Finally, you need to keep those bottles clean and sterilised. The quickest way to do this is by using a bag and a microwave. We love these Bottle sterlizer bags
Visit the Grandparents with a 6-18month old
Once baby is on the move visits to Grandparents homes bring a whole new world of safety concerns. And tinsel looks so exciting! It may be worth having a chat just to recommend that any precious items are put away or on to higher shelves and ask for the glass baubles to be put higher up the tree! There are a few other things that are really handy;
- We love the folding bath . You can get a seat for when they are little. Its lightweight, easy to fill and empty. It folds up to take hardly any space. Really practical and the best we have seen on the market – 5/5
- Another favourite: the travel Grobag. Especially handy if you want your little one to sleep in their car seat for the journey and then go straight to bed at Nana’s. We take two just in case there is an accident. They wash and dry so quickly. Our boys favourites. They can use these until their toes reach the end!
- Sleep in any room with a set of Black out blinds. These easily attach to the windows. Absolutely brilliant to ensure a quiet night’s deep sleep. No need to worry about light pollution and I’m pretty sure they are good at keeping out drafts in spare rooms too!
- Toddlers love the explore but there will be places they shouldn’t go. Is the utility room safe? What are the stairs like? There are a few options on the market but the one we have found the easiest to use by far, and the most versatile, is the Folding baby gate.
- Christmas is a time for eating together as a family. Kids feel so special sitting at the big table and eating with all the grown ups. So they can reach, and feel really grown up, it’s good to have a Travel high chair and I love this one. It can stand on it’s own or on a chair. Little one can sit in front of the telly, eat their Christmas cake or snack, with a safe place to put their sippy cup and catch the crumbs.
Visit the Grandparents with a 6 month – 3 year old
As they get older you’ll find that the there are some things that you just use until they grow out of them. Once they are weaned and no longer using a bottle you can leave the bottle warmer, and the sterilising bags. But here are somethings you can’t possibly forget! And remember while they are teething you may need extra bits and pieces just to keep them comfortable. Or just let Nana rub that brandy on their gums (!!!)
So make sure you have on your packing list;
- Favourite cuddly toy, dummy or blanket
- Favourite sippy cup, just so they have a few things that they know are theirs.
- Toys – a few that they love and that will keep them happy while you catch up with the relatives, peel the sprouts, or mix a nice jug of Bucks Fizz!
- A Travel cot that doesn’t take up a huge amount of space in the boot, is very easy to put up and can be used so many places. Just like a grown up Koo-do pop really!
Visit the Grandparents with a pre-schooler
They’ve probably now started going to pre-school and have so much energy, ideas and things to talk about that the grandparents get a new lease of life buzzing round the house when they come to stay. This is when the magic of Christmas is starting to make sense and they get so excited.
There are a few thing that are really handy to bring with you, so that there is space for all the cousins, aunts uncles and any one else to visit or stay over, and you know little one has what they need to have a really good time.
- If you can’t keep them busy making Christmas cookies, paper chains or decorating the dog then take along some of their favourite Jigsaw puzzles, colouring books and crayons. We got an excellent Advent Activity pack from Aldi that is keeping us busy each day with anew activity. Even the 10 year old wants to get involved!
- If your little one is climbing out of the travel cot, or they have to sleep sideways it may be time to get a ready bed. So easy to pack, inflate, deflate and wash. My little one tells me it’s really comfy and Nana’s says she gets a longer sleep, which is always a winner!
- Whether or not you have started potty training or your little one is fully trained don’t risk the rush to the loo! Avoid any accidents by taking a Travel potty, even into Granny and Grandads house, because you never know when you may need it!
- The Advent calendar! They need to open those last doors and get the chocolates!
Hand made presents from your little one will be loved by the grandparents. You may just want to bring the easy to pack ones. Make sure there will be some space left for bring home the new toys. If you don’t have much space you could leave some with the grandparents. The toys will be waiting for them to play with each time they visit the grandparents. This works especially well if any are doubles of toys that they have at home!
The stocking fillers
What do you put in the stocking? Is it a big sack with all the presents? Or just a taster for the start of the day? We go for the later and put in;
- A satsuma
- A chocolate treat
- A nut once they are over 3 (a big one in a shell. They never eat it. We say it is a gift from the reindeer!)
- A book – great for those that love reading, or doing quizzes/puzzles
- A toy/puzzle – it keeps them busy and means you can have a little lie in!
For fussy eaters take some of their favourite food, in little packs that can be easily heated. We loved Ella’s Kitchen food – from weaning up to pre-schooler!
Go with the flow
Now you have everything you need to visit the grandparents for Christmas. Here are a couple of tips to have a great Christmas visit to the Grandparents;
- Go with the flow. It’s not your house so relax a bit and let their rules apply
- They love your kids too, so they will be safe, happy and spoilt rotten!
- There may be arguments and tensions in the family but just remember you can leave any time, but it’s best to do this with happy kids, so try and bite your tongue, at least until after bedtime!
- A happy parent means a happy kid. If your little one is getting over tired or over excited keep calm and give them a bit of quiet time with you. They will love it and remember it forever
- Talk to your partner, or a sibling that you get on with, before you go if there is something really niggling you so you can act as a tag team and diffuse uncomfortable situations
- If you don’t have a partner with you then make sure you have you best mates in speed dial. A few words from them can put a smile back on your face. Or you can escape to theirs for a break.
It’s only a few days each year. Take turns on where you are each year so it isn’t always the same. You don’t always have to visit the Grandparents on Christmas day. But when you do it can be fabulous!