How to Make Your House Grand-kid Friendly

By on June 1, 2011

By Nancie Carmichael –

They’re coming! Grandkids, that is. And I can’t wait. Willy. Kendsy. Cali. Hogan. Pearson. Jackson. Cole. Hudson. Wesley. Annabelle. They range in ages from fourteen years to twelve months. While Grand-Kid Camp in the summer is our big get-together, there are other times such as holidays when we try to co-ordinate gatherings. But as life gets busier for our growing grandkids, lots of times we are going to them, to watch their activities. But it’s important to us to have our own house grand-kid friendly so they love coming to our house, which takes intentional planning and strategy. For instance, last weekend we just had five year old Annabelle. This coming weekend we get Jackson, Cole, and Hudson (six, three, and 11 months).

I confess nothing is more fun than to have our little people burst in the front door and we get the hugs and smiles. My sister Kitty, who has seven grandchildren says, “Grandparents are always happy. They’re happy when their grandkids arrive, and they’re happy when they leave. So, they’re always happy!”  It’s true that having the kids come to visit is a lot of work, and quite frankly, a big mess. I’m convinced God had it right when he gave us children when we’re younger; but we grandparents really have the best deal. We get to play with our grandkids. It’s just plain old fun. But, good times happen with good preparation.

fall scents for your home

Think things through. Try to anticipate what you will be doing while they are at your house. Prepare ahead of time as much as possible so that when they are with you, you can have fun. The more preparation I can do ahead of time, the better time we have.  Make places for them. Where will you have them sleep? Since we have so many—especially if they’re all here at once—we have to be flexible, but we work hard at making places for them, even if it is a mat with a sleeping bag on it. Be sure to have a few extra toothbrushes stashed away in case someone forgets theirs.

Food. Again, preparation is key. Start making a list of what you need at the grocery store. When Papa and I are here alone, we are pretty predictable and boring with our oatmeal and coffee and whole wheat bread. So it’s good to know what the kids like, and know who has allergies to what. Jackson, our six-year-old grandson is highly allergic to peanut butter or anything with peanuts in it, so it’s important to be aware of ingredients.

Do as much as you can ahead of time.  Whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies and pop them in the freezer. I make spaghetti sauce ahead of time so all we have to do is cook the pasta. A couples of days before they arrive, we make sure we have cereal, juice, and milk on hand. A selection of yogurt, fresh fruit, and English muffins make breakfast tasty.

Here’s a fun idea: “Tacos in a Bag.”  A friend of mine gets individual-sized bags of taco chips. She has the kids crush the chips; then she cuts the top off the bag. The kids can make their own tacos using ground beef, cheese, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, or whatever they like on their tacos. Using plastic spoons, everything is disposable. Easy and fun.

Crafts. In case you need a quiet activity or a break from cartoons, have some crafts ready.  It doesn’t take a lot to mix up a batch of fun: crayons or play-doh; new coloring books; puzzles; small jars of bubbles. During the year, I check out garage sales and rummage stores for good children’s books and toys. If we grandparents have special things at our house for our grandchildren, it says to them: “My grandparents love me and want me. They’re making a place for me.”

Get outside! Right now it is summer, and there are so many wonderful things to do. We have hammocks in our backyard; a stash of bats and balls in our wood shed; Frisbees; a croquet set. Maybe our best times are just swinging in the hammock, talking with the kids. Looking at the sky and trying to see if we can see the squirrel in the top of the tree. Or taking a walk around the block and meeting all the neighborhood pets.

Even if where you live is not kid-friendly, you can drive to a park, a lake; or visit a zoo, or perhaps a kid’s museum.

Rest up! Make sure you have plenty of sleep and you’re in top shape to have a great time. Remember that there are lots of things you can do and make. There are countless activities you can so. But the best thing you can do is to enjoy them, and take time to listen to them. It is a privilege to spend time with these little ones that we treasure—so the best preparation is to make room in your heart for them.  Be ready for some wonderful and surprising adventures!

Nancie Carmichael writes from her home in Camp Sherman, Oregon. For more information, see her website:

About Nancie Carmichael

Nancie Carmichael and her husband Bill have been involved with the writing and publishing field for many years as they published Virtue Magazine and Christian Parenting Magazine. They now own a book publishing company, Deep River Books. Nancie and Bill have written several books together including: Lord, Bless My Child; and Seven Habits of a Healthy Home. Nancie has written: Your life, God’s Home; Desperate for God: How He Meet Us When We Pray; The Comforting Presence of God; Selah: Time to Stop, Think, and Step into your Future; and her latest book, Surviving One Bad Year—Seven Spiritual Strategies to Lead You to a New Beginning. Bill and Nancie make their home in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and are parents to five married children and grandparents to ten. Nancie received her Master’s of Spiritual Formation from George Fox Evangelical Seminary in 2012, and in 2005, received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Western Baptist College. Website:

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How to Make Your House Grand-kid Friendly