If you’ve made the decision to become a guardian of a child, you have many things to prepare for. The biggest change is being responsible for the safety, education, medical treatment, and overall well-being of another person. This requires a great deal of time, energy, and attention, whether the child will be the only one you’re taking care of or they’ll be joining a household with other kids.
Because the child you’ll be responsible for will be living under your roof, it’s important that they feel safe and secure in your home. Depending on their age, you may take different steps to complete this process. Ideally, you should do it before the child moves in with you. This helps create a good first impression when they enter your home and can help ease the transition as they adjust to life with you as their guardian.
Practice Safe Sleeping for Newborns and Infants
If you’re going to be the guardian of a newborn or a baby, it’s extremely important to practice safe sleep techniques. Always place newborns to sleep on their backs on firm surfaces with breathable or open sides, such as bassinets and cribs. Never put pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals in bassinets or cribs with newborns and infants, as they can present suffocation risks. And finally, avoid co-sleeping with newborns and infants, especially on couches and chairs.
Create a Safe and Comfortable Space for the Child
Although most older children and teenagers prefer to have a room of their own, it’s okay if you don’t have one and need to split rooms with another child or member of your household. However, it’s important to give the child their own bed and storage space, such as a chest, dresser, and/or closet. They should also have a dedicated space to do homework, which can include a desk or even the kitchen table.
Babyproof Your Home for Toddlers and Young Children
Toddlers and young children are infinitely curious and determined to explore. Whether it’s been a while since you’ve had a toddler in your house, or it’s a completely new experience to you, you may be surprised by how quickly they can get around! They’re drawn like magnets to every cabinet, drawer, and bookshelf, as well as the contents inside. Be sure to babyproof by locking cabinets and drawers, removing heavy objects from shelves, and securing furniture to walls.
Secure Guns, Medications, and Valuables
If you’re about to become the guardian of an older child, you may not have to babyproof your home, but you’ll still need to take a few preventative steps. Accidental firearm discharges are tragic and 100% preventable, so if you own guns, keep them locked in a safe. You should also keep valuables and medications, especially those with the potential to be abused, hidden and locked away.
Ensure Your Home is Neat, Clean, and Comfortable
Your home doesn’t have to be a showplace to be fit for a child to live with you, but it should be comfortable, neat, and free from potential hazards. That means ensuring that it doesn’t get too hot or too cold in the summer and winter, that it has points of egress in the event of a fire such as accessible windows and doors, that it has working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and that it is free from hazards like lead paint.
Be Flexible and Ready to Make Changes
It’s important to be prepared to make minor modifications to your home and their living space as they grow, change, and make their preferences known. Even if you already know the child and are aware of their personality and needs, you still need to be on your toes and prepared to accommodate them, especially if the guardianship is expected to last for several years.
We Help Guardians and Children Achieve Their Dreams.
Whether you’ve just set out on the journey to become a guardian, or you’re deep in the process and have hit a snag, our California family law attorneys can help. We know the ins and outs of the guardianship process, including how best to prepare for one and how to ensure that pass through the legal hoops with flying colors.
Contact The Law Office of André J. Ausseresses, APC, today for a free initial guardianship consultation.
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