Your first thought when good friends invite you over for a meal at their house – ‘Hooray! I can’t wait to see them’. But if your friend doesn’t have a child/only has a baby or older children, then a second thought runs through your mind, ‘Damn, their house is going to be trouble’.
People who don’t have children or who have infants, do not know the pitfalls of having a toddler running around. People with older children have forgotten all about it. No one takes time out to toddler-proof their homes ahead of a visit with friends. But those of you with children between the ages of 10-42 months will know what I am talking about.
There are actions that you can undertake that will reduce the headaches and suffering that may otherwise occur. If you have invited over friends who have a toddler, here are…
Some tips to toddler-proof your house to save you and your guests some stress:
1. Put away sharp knives. I can’t tell you how many houses we’ve been in that have had huge, sharp knives on the edge of dining tables, on a coffee table, at the bottom of a butcher’s block and even on the kitchen floor. Seriously. On. The. Floor.
2. Blow out those candles. Yes, lighting a candle can be quite nice and relaxing. But arriving at a house covered in lit candles when you have a two year old? My heart begins fluttering as I picture my toddler a) burning down your house or b) getting third-degree burns on his hands and face.
3. Move your bottles. I understand you like to display your valuable wine bottles on a low shelf or on the floor. But maybe you could keep them up high so that hundreds of pounds worth of wine don’t stain your carpet? And remember, my family lives on one income, we will not be reimbursing you.
4. Hide your sweets. I appreciate that you want to be welcoming, but a giant bowl of candy and chocolate? Have you ever met a child? Do you not care if my child get hyped up and shrieks the entire drive home (all whilst being covered in wine)?
5. Pick up the pens. A pen or a marker in the hands of a toddler who doesn’t have paper? Neither you or I want my child to write all over your walls.But how can I stop my lightning quick toddler if he finds a pen while we have our backs turned for half a second (cause that is all it will take)?
6. Be prepared for the mess. You would be surprised how quickly a small child can destroy a room. I always try to tidy up after my children, but many people say not to worry. I hope they are not huddled in a corner, in tears, after our departure.
If after all this, you still want to invite me over. Just tell me a time (that obviously does not interfere with my child’s nap time or bedtime) and I will see you there.