Are you expecting an out-of-town visitor who is bringing a child? Or maybe you are helping watch a child during the day, but you don’t have kids yet. Don’t worry--children are great. They are funny, cute, and constantly learning. The only catch is that they can be a handful when a home isn’t made for them. Give your guest child a place that makes them feel right at home, so everyone will have a great time.
1. Have a designated play area. Kids need a space to call their own. Give them an area where they are allowed to be a kid and make a mess and play freely. Having a designated play area keeps the mess out of the living room and keeps the toys in one location (ideally).
2. Have extra storage for toys. Kids bring with them lots and lots of toys. Finding a home for all of those toys is a challenge when you live in an apartment. Get creative with corner shelving, ottomans that double as storage bins, and under furniture storage areas. You still want these places to be accessible to the child so that they can pull them out when it’s play time and help clean up afterwards.
3. Move the valuables and breakable items up high or put them away. Children can’t help but be curious. They are learning everything about their new world, and they don’t understand the difference between expensive China and their plastic dinner plate. If the object is nice but not that important to you, you can move it up so that the child can’t reach it. That doesn’t mean your breakables aren’t subject to a stray thrown ball or toy. To avoid losing anything that is an heirloom or precious to you, it’s best to move the object out of harm’s way. Tuck it away to bring out when the child leaves or gets older.
4. Add step stools to the bathroom sink. When you childproof your apartment, think of every room that they will use. Make sure to have a stool that’s the perfect size for their little hands to reach the bathroom sink faucet. This will help promote cleanliness after any bathroom stop and leave you with a little more peace of mind. They may eat off of the floor, but at least their hands are clean.
5. Have childproof cups and perfectly portioned plates. Kids eat, and eat, and eat. To make mealtime more pleasant for everyone, have child-friendly cups, utensils, and plates for them to use. If the child is young enough, have a highchair, or a chair that is ok to get spills on. The child will get more food in their mouth instead of on their clothes with the tools that are the perfect size for them.
6. Cover outlets with childproof sockets. One of the most dangerous things in the apartment is the electrical sockets. Children can’t help but explore, and these electrical sockets are right at their eye level. Protect them by putting plastic covers over the outlets that aren’t in use.
7. Put soft cushions to sharp corners. Furniture is made for adult-sized humans, which makes tabletops and corners at the perfect height to bang a child’s head. Adhere cloth or soft sponges to the ends of any surface that juts out. Kitchen islands, dining tables, end tables, and coffee tables are the usual culprits for bad bruises and bangs to the forehead.
8. Move household cleaners and products. Either lock up the cabinets with these supplies or move them out of reach. If you look away for half a second, a child has the opportunity to get into dangerous chemicals that can harm them. Avoid any potential for a hospital visit and remove the problem all together. This also goes for bathroom products. Remove toothpaste, shampoo, and other beauty products away from the child’s reach.
You can find most of these supplies at any local box store, or you can order what you need online. You set up your gorgeous guest room, but don’t forget to put a little extra time in creating a space for your guest child. By making the apartment feel more at home, they will be at ease letting everyone relax a little deeper.