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For many of us, there’s no greater pleasure than having our grandchildren over to play or stay the night. Whether you look after your grandchildren on a regular basis, or you have family visiting occasionally, it’s wonderful to feel like everyone is comfortable and content. If you’re looking to make your home more accessible for younger visitors, here are some simple ways to create a grandchild-friendly home.
Maintain adults-only areas
Your home is your castle, and it’s perfectly natural to want to retreat to a living room or a quiet space that isn’t packed full of soft toys or littered with building blocks and puzzle pieces. One of the best ways to design a home that works for every generation is to keep some areas of the house for adults. If you’ve been babysitting, or you’ve had visitors, you can close the door on the lounge or kitchen, and head to your sanctuary to unwind and relax. You could create a reading, sewing, music or meditation room in a spare room or attic area, or you could make one of your reception rooms an adult area if you have two living spaces. Children are inquisitive creatures, and they might have questions about the rooms they don’t usually spend time in when they visit you. If this is the case, you can give them a quick tour and explain that those rooms are for grown-ups and that other areas are better for playing games and having fun.
Make room for mess
We all know that children create a lot of mess. From arts and crafts to baking, kids love to get stuck into activities that can leave your home looking like a bomb has gone off. If you love to get involved and you enjoy cooking with your grandchildren, painting pictures, turning bottles and tins into robots or castles, or making clay models, it’s best to designate an area to these activities. The kitchen is often a good base for messy play, as you can clean up easily, and usually, floors and countertops are better suited to activities than living room carpets or dining room tables.
Health and safety
Health and safety should be a concern for every homeowner, but it’s particularly important to be aware of potential hazards and dangers if you have children visiting on a regular basis. To avoid accidents and injuries, it’s worth carrying out a risk assessment and highlighting any possible causes for concern, for example, damaged flooring or hidden steps. If your grandchildren are very young, it’s wise to invest in stair gates and cupboard locks and to ensure that any cords or wires are hidden away from little fingers. You might also want to add locks to internal doors to restrict where your visitors can roam. It’s useful to have a lockable cupboard in the bathroom and to make sure household chemicals and cleaning products are stored in a drawer or unit that is out of reach.
Promoting peace and tranquility
Children are bundles of energy, but they also need downtime. If you’re revamping your home or you’re thinking about making your house more versatile, it’s a great idea to design a tranquil space where you can chill out and they can relax, sleep or take a break to read stories or listen to music. You can add ambience and create a cosy vibe with contemporary log burners, soft furnishings and comfortable, child-friendly furniture, for example, a mini sofa, oversized floor cushions or beanbags. Having a haven in your home can help with establishing and sticking to routines, especially for young children who nap during the day.
Getting the kids involved
If your grandchildren love a sleepover, and they have their own room or playroom, why not get them involved in redecorating? You could choose the colours together and ask them about the kinds of themes they like best. Popular examples include animals and safari, space, sports and TV and movie characters. Flick through magazines or browse blogs and online galleries for inspiration. You don’t have to spend a fortune or devote hours to interior design and DIY to transform a room. Painting the walls and buying budget-friendly accessories can make all the difference. You could also flex your creative talents and take on upcycling projects if you have old furniture lying around. You could convert an old coffee table into a cool board game or Lego table or spruce up and paint a rocking chair, for example. There are some fabulous tutorials you can follow online.
Cool, child-friendly garden ideas
Most children are desperate to spend as much time outdoors as possible, even when skies are grey and there’s a risk of rain. If your garden is more functional than fun, there are some very simple ways to make the space more child-friendly. Apply the same rules outside as you have inside, and section off areas for adults and children. If you love to read a book, to catch rays or enjoy a glass of wine in the garden, you can set up entertaining and chill-out spaces ideal for friends and older family members. You can then create a kid’s zone with toys and age-appropriate furniture. You could invest in a mini picnic table and benches, turn an old shed into a beach hut or an enchanted castle or add soccer goals or basketball hoops, for example. It’s also an excellent idea to use your backyard for relaxing with your grandchildren. If you have outdoor cushions, hammocks or beanbags, you can read together or even enjoy an alfresco snooze. If you’re keen to separate areas, you can use different materials, for example, gravel and paving in an entertaining area and turf and bark chippings in children’s sections.
If you’re a grandparent, it’s natural to want your children and grandchildren to feel at home when they come and visit. Designing a space that works for all ages isn’t always easy, but there are some simple ways to create a grandchild-friendly home that also offers serenity, comfort and peace.