Every new grandmother dreams of the day she’ll be able to take her grandchild on an outing, a short vacation, or simply home for an overnight stay. But no matter what excursion you take with your grandchild, it’s crucial to make sure the timing–and circumstances– are absolutely right, so the stage will be set for enjoying each other’s company for years.
Let’s start with an outing that can take anywhere from a couple of hours, such as a spring picnic in the local park, to a full day at a water park a couple of hours away.
1. Make certain your grandchild is secure enough to be away from his parents or full-time caregiver and old enough to explain what’s wrong if she’s having a problem, such as not feeling well.
2. Invite a friend of of your grandchild to come along, if having company will help him enjoy the outing even more.
3. Choose an activity that will make your grandchild feel confident and relaxed, not challenged and uneasy. A petting zoo, for example, might be a perfect spot for an outgoing three-year-old, but could frighten an unusually timid five year old. A curious seven year old might love a trip to a science museum, but a child who has difficulty grasping abstract concepts might not.
4. Bring along food and snacks that your grandchild enjoys.
5. Remember to pack a change of clothing, in case your grandchild has an accident, from spilling ice cream on his shirt to not making it to the bathroom in time.
You can’t wait to tuck your granddaughter into bed in your guest bedroom, and serve her fave, French toast with syrup, in the morning. Before you head for your home, consider what you’ll need to ensure she has a great night’s sleep and a happy-go-lucky morning. If this is your grandchild’s first night away from home without her parents, you’ll certainly want to avoid a case of homesickness.
1. Make sure her bed isn’t too big or too small, in relation to where she sleeps at home. If a five year old normally sleeps in a single bed, she could feel overwhelmed in a queen. Expect your unusually tall and athletic nine-year-old grandson to sleep on a skimpy foldaway cot, and he might wake up with neck and backaches.
2. Bring along a few familiar, comforting objects, such as stuffed animals, books, a blanket, even a favorite drinking glass, to make your grandchild feel more “at home.’
3. Always keep a selection of your grandchild’s clothes in the closet in the room where she’ll be sleeping. They will make her feel like she “belongs.”
4. Keep a duplicate selection of your grandchild’s favorite toys at your home, rather than schlepping them back and forth every time she comes for a sleepover. Check out this guide on gifts for the grandkids for additional suggestions on things they’d enjoy.
5. Never fail to keep the refrigerator and cupboard stocked with your grandchild’s favorite drinks and snacks (healthy, of course!)
Taking your grandchild on his first vacation alone with you may fill you with excitement, but it also involves the most planning and psychology.
1. Absolutely make sure to involve your grandchild (and his folks) in the planning, as much as possible. You may think a weekend beach vacation is the perfect choice, but that may fill your daughter-in-law with apprehension. You adore the idea of visiting a dude ranch, but is your grandchild really ready to confidently ride a horse? You personally want to keep as far away from Disney World as possible, but it’s been your grandson’s dream vacation for years.
2. Check out the emergency medical care before you confirm the reservations. You’ll want to have easy access to top-notch doctors in case something serious goes wrong. Also keep the phone numbers of your grandchild’s pediatrician (and other docs) in your phone.
3. Try to keep your first multi-day trip a reasonable distance from your grandchild’s home. It can be pretty scary, even for an eight year old, to take a long plane ride, away from home and his parents, if he’s never done it before.
4. Try to limit your inaugural trip to four nights max. Even the most confident child might
start to feel antsy and anxious about getting home to her parents by the fifth day, no matter how much fun she’s having.
5. Avoid going on multi-day trips with your grandchild until you’ve taken a few one-day excursions with him.