I’ve heard it said that grandparenting is the golden ticket — you get all the rewards without the responsibilities. As I watch my own parents and in-laws as grandparents, I’ve come to the conclusion that this saying is pretty accurate. For the most part, parents are the ones doing all the heavy lifting (i.e. disciplining, homework, diffusing tantrums, making them eat healthy on occasion …), whereas grandparents get to enjoy more of the fun stuff — the “highlight reel” type of moments (i.e. giving them special treats and taking them on exciting adventures).
As a result, I’m pretty sure our parents were just as excited as my husband and I during our first pregnancy. As I prepared our baby girl’s nursery, our parents were excitedly discussing plans for creating their own little nooks for her. And as I gleefully added items to my baby registry, my mom was busy starting a children’s book collection and my mother-in-law was storing all the hand-me-downs from friends who had already joined the Grandma Club. It was as though we had all entered nesting mode in our own ways to prepare for this new and exciting stage of life.
As I planned and prepped for my first baby shower, some of my parents’ friends had the brilliant idea to help them celebrate with a shower of their own … a Grandparent Shower! It was so brilliant. Considering all the gear that a new baby needs, how utterly convenient it would be for my parents to have many of the basics already set up in their own home! I was thrilled at the prospect of having fewer things to lug back and forth when we paid Grandma and Grandpa a visit.
The Grandparent Shower was such a success that my parents have continued recommending it to friends and family. It’s a fun and practical way to include them in welcoming a new baby into the family and to celebrate their new roles. Six years (and three grandkids) later, we’re still using so many of the items from their shower.
If you or someone you know is considering a Grandparent Shower, here are some must-haves for the grandbaby gift list (aside from the obvious diapers, wipes, pacifiers, bottles, clothes, etc.). I’ve included some favorites from my parents’ list, along with items we’ve schlepped back and forth over the years and wished they’d had on-hand.
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The level of baby proofing necessary depends on the child. Outlet covers are a good basic and may be all you need to keep the grandbabies protected.
Available now at Amazon, $2.49 for 36
Pack ‘n Play with Bassinet
While having a crib is a nice thought, having a portable sleep option is much more practical. For grandparents that don’t have a designated baby room, this gives them the option of quickly setting up the bassinet when grandbabies are over and then easily packing it away after.
Available now at Amazon, $75.49
Since babies can’t use blankets for a long while, it’s smart to have a sleep sack on hand to keep them cozy.
Available now at Amazon, $24.99
For those early months, swaddling is a lifesaver. My parents love this super easy-to-use version that I call “cheater swaddles.” They’re great for grandparents who may be a bit rusty with their technique.
Available now at Amazon, $23.74
Car seats can be a bit of a pain to transfer between cars. So, having one of their own is a really nice option if they can swing it. This one is a great all-in-one option that can grow with a child so it won’t need to be replaced at various stages.
Available now at Amazon, $220.04
Afternoon strolls to the park are a breeze with a good, basic stroller. No need to get anything fancy — just a simple umbrella stroller will work great. Though, the added canopy and basket are a nice addition to this one.
Available now at Amazon, $59.99
Travel Changing Pad
No need to have a large changing table — just stash a travel changing pad in a basket with your diapers and wipes, and you’ll be good to go!
Available now at Amazon, $15.97
Little ones get messy, so bibs are a must. These sleeved ones are great for keeping messes to a minimum and double as art smocks.
Available now at Amazon, $8.26
Bath time at Grandma’s house is always my kids’ favorite (she lets them splash way more), so she likes to keep her bathroom cupboard stocked with baby wash for them.
Available now at Amazon, $8.52
They probably don’t want to give up valuable kitchen space on a regular basis with a large high chair, so something small that can be strapped to a chair and easily wiped down is just the thing.
Available now at Amazon, $27.99
Baby monitors are a bit of a pain to lug to and from the grandparents’ house, so it’s nice to have one there for nap time or overnighters.
Available now at Amazon, $74.99
Baby Activity Center
Once your baby is more mobile, it’s nice to have a little activity seat to set them in while the grandparents run to the bathroom or make lunch. This one’s cool because it can convert as the child grows.
Available now at Amazon, $118.99