I was recently back on ABC’s The View from the Bay to discuss the tricky subject of childproofing somebody else’s home during the holidays. Click here to watch.
If you’re gearing up to spend the holidays with your baby or toddler in someone else’s home, just remember, a little preparation can go a long way toward allowing you to relax and enjoy the visit.
While you can’t exactly show up and rearrange your hosts’ furniture (okay, I admit I’ve done this), undecorate their Christmas tree (only the lower 1/3), or expect them to use paper plates for the big holiday meal instead of Grandma’s china (just bring a few for the toddler and trust me, no one will complain), there are some ways you can help ensure that everyone gets to sit down and relax at least a little while, and enjoy the holiday together:
Bring temporary childproofing items to help eliminate risks without imposing on your hosts. Garden training wire, door knob covers, door finger guards, stove knob guards, and other gadgets take up little space in the suitcase. See more ideas for temporary childproofing and travel safety here.
Appoint one person (perhaps you or your spouse) to be in charge of the holiday wrappings as gifts are opened. Not only might your hosts appreciate your tidy sorting of the recyclables, but you’ll also make sure your child doesn’t get tangled in the ribbons, eat the “batteries included,” or happen upon unsuitable packing materials such as flavorless Styrofoam peanuts, toy display wires, desiccant packets in boxes of new shoes and slippers, and other surprises.
Rent helpful baby and safety gear to avoid spending the better part of your visit chasing after your child or hovering to keep her out of harm’s way. Consider a play yard to keep early risers and nappers from roaming unattended, pressure-mounted safety gates to bar off a flight of stairs, an exersaucer for amusement-and-containment-in-one, or even a Superyard XT to fence off the fireplace or Christmas tree (not all, but some agencies are offering these). Find a baby gear rental agency near your destination in the worldwide directory of baby gear rental agencies.
Also, consider bringing a helpful hostess gift–from your baby or toddler. I’ve got some fun and practical suggestions over at my new column at Examiner.com, where I’ll be doing a series on more unexpected holiday travel tips for travelers with babies and small children. Check it out.
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Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning guide Travels with Baby
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