My mother used to say that grandparents and grandchildren get along the best because they have a common enemy! Of course she was poking fun at herself but there is no denying the special bond between the two. That’s why vacationing with your grandchild can be so satisfying for everyone. The grandparent gets to bond with the grandchild creating special memories and the adult child gets some well-deserved kid-free time.
There are many travel companies that specialize in grandparent/grandchild tour packages. They are easy to find on the internet and can be a good choice as many grandparents would rather focus on time spent in the experience rather than logistics. Trips range from high adventure white water rafting to cultural city trips and everything in between. A great way to ensure you select a trip that is both comfortable and memorable is to involve your grandchildren in the selection process. Give them two or three options that you have vetted to pick from and they will feel valued and involved.
Before your trip, make sure you have the proper documents to travel with your grandchild. Bring their health insurance cards and a notarized medical release form. Bring any medications they may take or need. If traveling out of the country do your research to find out what documents you will need.
Make sure you have conversations with the parents about expectations. Are there family rules that are non-negotiable? Are there certain things that the family is working on? Are there dynamics that you need to understand? Communication prior to the trip is vital for a happy and successful adventure. Telling children, “Don’t tell mom and dad,” puts them in a terrible position and erodes trust in the family. And don’t forget, communication goes both ways. Are there things you are uncomfortable with? Do you have rules that need to be discussed? Being clear about expectations prior to the trip can save a lot of confusion and hurt feelings.
Consider incorporating some rest and down time during your trip: take a nap, read some books, people watch, etc. Not every moment has to be scheduled – after all it’s vacation! This is a wonderful time in your life to get to know your grandchild on a different level and deepen your special bond.
Lastly, have a sense of humor, stay flexible and look at the big picture. Remember, most trips have a hiccup or two, which provide you with a great opportunity to teach your grandchildren how to go with the flow and be able to tell a great story about it when you return home!