As parents are more and more busy nowadays, grandparents are, sometimes, the ones in charge with the children supervision and care. But things can turn out very fun and entertaining, both for the little ones and for the adults, with a few tips you have to take into consideration whenever you decide to go on a trip. It’s these little tips thatcan make the difference between the time of your life or a living nightmares.
These are, of course, not restricted to grandchildren, and are, in general, useful tips to be taken into consideration whenever traveling with children.
Book flights according to the needs
It’s very important that you don’t treat the youngsters as equals when it comes to booking a flight. For instance, if the kids are small enough to be considered ‘lap children’, it’s highly important that you plan your seating. In order to do that, the best choice is to ask for an aviation-approved car seat, thus giving you and the baby comfort during the entire trip.
Of course, when flying alone with the grandchildren it’s recommended that you get in charge of the notarized medical release from the parents giving permission for legal medical care, making you a temporary tutor. Copies of insurance and prescription cards are also important to be carried with, since unexpected situations are most likely to occur. Of course, it’s more likely that you won’t travel alone with your grandchild by airplane until he’s at least four or five, but in case of emergency these are the steps to be followed. Except for special car sit approval, it pretty much works the same for bigger children as well.
Extra tip: organize your handbag accordingly, you clearly don’t want to be in the position when you need and extra blanket, a syrup or a favorite toy and you’re not able to provide it to the little one. Deriving from this, you clearly don’t want your first trip with the little ones to be an airplane one. So if you haven’t been alone with them in a holiday before, try to make an experiment and see if it works, perhaps bond a little before the actual deal happens.
Make some research.
If you plan to have a personally scheduled itinerary, make sure that the places fit the children’s interests and passions, not to mention the generation gap that has to be taken into consideration. Of course, quality bonding can be made in many circumstances, but you clearly want yours to have all the good premises. For instance, scientists recommend that you only take your grandchildren alone in a trip with you after the age of 7, while the most indicated interval is between the age 8 and 14, when they’re both independent enough to be able to enjoy the trip without whining about missing their parents and mature enough to remember those sweet moments over years.
Get the kids enthusiastic.
It’s really important that you really make a big deal out of your little trip together, so this way they’ll see it as a genuine holiday, a great time they get to spend with you, and you’ll be sure they won’t take if for granted. Show them maps and pictures of the places you’re going to see, share some stories from where you where young if you’ve ever been there (it’s also recommended that you go to a relatively known destination, so the trip will also be insightful). But don’t spoil the mysteries and surprises. Keep some things secret, but only if you’re sure they’re going to enjoy them. For instance, if your grandchild’s collecting coins and there’s a numismatic fair in the city you’re visiting, don’t spoil it. Involving children as you plan is highly important to get them committed, and putting their interests first is a key to success, but only if you leave some things unknown. Make surprises! Extra tip: Creating expectations means being able to fulfill them, so there we are back to tip number two again, make some research before creating any expectancy.
Don’t be suffocating!
You may want this trip to be as you planed, but clearly getting too smothering isn’t the best idea. You don’t have to look like an overly attached paranoid just to make sure that the children are having fun. Rather than being obsessed with this idea, leave the things flow. Give the children space, even when you plan the sleeping arrangements or the room disposal. Making this entire thing very casual is what you want, since they’re going to associate you with those moments for a long period ahead if you do this. Extra tip: teaching the children to be financially independent is very important even from childhood time, this is why you may want to give them some spending money, especially it’s two or three of them and this way they’ll compete on being economical and prudent in spending it. Make sure that the amount is big enough to make them want to spend wisely, but moderated to they won’t understand that money comes from the skies. Appreciating economic values is important and this little exercise can be a great learning experience for the kids.
Packing is essential.
Make packing a family activity. Involve the parents, constantly ask for tips and specific information from them, make them feel confident about having entrusted you with the little ones. Don’t take it as a competition with the parents, it’s not! And certainly spoiling the children too much isn’t the way to bond. Be nice and wise, but convince the children to have it your way sometimes. Also – and even more important, involve the kids in packing as well. Treat them as adults, give them responsibilities, make them self-confident and help them manage the whole situation. Each of them is in charge with packing his own luggage, with the parent’s consent, of course. Extra tip: Take with you things you know they like, but they didn’t pack (favorite sweets or fruit juice, for instance); they’ll take it as a great sign of affection and interest from you and they’ll appreciate it for sure.
Don’t forget to send cards home!