Traveling With Grandchildren
Yes, You Can!
Start With The Positive
Most grandparents who are thinking about taking their grandchildren on holiday turn to google to check out what they should and shouldn’t do. Can I suggest that before you google ‘vacationing with your grandchildren’ you think about why you want to go on holiday with your grandchildren. Loving them is a given but there is a whole lot more to traveling with your grandchildren that will balance out some of your fears.
9 Reasons Why Traveling With Your Grandchildren
Is The Best Idea You Have Ever Had
1. It Changes Your Focus
It’s all too easy for adults to become tourists. The problem with bucket lists is they become just that. Which means we travel to tick something off our list. Children on the other hand have no list. They travel to see what’s there! I remember tramping (NZ jargon for hiking) with my children to Hooker Hut in the Aoraki National Park many years ago. It’s the first hut you come to for those crossing the Southern Alps or climbing Mount Aoraki (aka Mt. Cook) As my youngest daughter was only 3 years old at the time Hooker Hut was our destination. Our goal was to arrive by night fall, hers was to find heart shaped stones! Even if you are an experienced traveler I can guarantee that traveling with young children will introduce you to new experiences.
2. Share Your Childhood
A few years ago my youngest daughter and I happened to be in the same hemisphere at the same time! We were both living and working in London so sharing where I was born and the school I went to was a joy I will never forget. I started by sharing a memory I had of sitting astride a concrete wall pretending I was riding a horse. That wall had been so hard to climb and I remember the trouble I got in for scraping the toes of my shoes. My first impression when showing her my wall was that it had shrunk! Standing outside my old school gates also raised a few questions. Separate entrances for boys and girls seemed quite normal “back then” As for my old home, it now housed two families who opened their door and hustled me in side to have a look around!
3. Follow Their Lead
If you have ever spent time in a playground you will see how easily children will reach out to others. The good thing about this is that it can spread! Adults on their own can strike up a conversation with a neighbour based on the shared experience of the children. Once the conversation has started you have the opportunity to share the places you have been that were successful and pick up tips for places that you would have otherwise missed.
4. Be Brave
When the kids come up with something unusual (but legal and safe!) take a deep breathe and go for it. Now this rcan be a bit hit and miss but some of the best holiday experiences I have had are those I had not planned. Trust your grandchildren and yourself. I once ended up in a factory in Birmingham (UK) where I was taught to make a bag out of brown paper, complete with handle. In Kenya I was wandering past a school when I was invited in to hear the children singing. When they found out I was a teacher I became the lesson for the afternoon.
5. Educational Trips Are Fun
If you’re grandchildren are the right age there are many organisations that specialise in inter-generational trips that cater for a wide range of interests. Drama, music, animals and crafts are just a few I have found. I am not affiliated to any in particular but they are certainly worth thinking about. Of course, you may like to present it to your grandchildren with out the word “education” in it. This particular tour group, (Road Scholar) allows you to take a back seat in organizing as well as providing like minded travelers for you and your grandchildren to get to know.
6. Improves Your Technology Skills
Unless you deliberately plan a vacation with your grandchildren out of internet range the gadgets will travel with you. You can negotiate how and when they will be used of course but if their are part of their everyday life than banning them from the holiday is probably not an option. Therefore, take the opportunity to learn how to use it to your advantage and theirs. As I mentioned in “How To Be A Grandparent With Pizzaz” becoming the learner is a great bonding opportunity.
7. A Gift For Your Children
It goes without saying that giving your time to your grand children is a gift that goes beyond monetary value. The nice thing is that when you vacation with your grandchildren the gift is shared with the parents! They no have the chance to spend precious one to one time together. Being a parent is a full time job but being yourselves without the label of “Shane and Mary’s mother/father is equally as important. If the parents are happy in their relationship then the children will be to. Material gifts will never replace this.
8. A Role Change
Many grandparents today take on the role of carer either full time or to allow for a second income. Juggling this role with being a grandparent takes special skills and negotiation. Traveling with your grandchildren is time where the focus is on having fun and sharing new experiences that don’t revolve around meal times and homework. Holidays give you the time to share memories as well as making new ones. Even rainy days will give you new opportunities to introduce them to card games, word games and that old favourite, charades
9. Memories Are Made
Making memories are the gift you give to your grand-children. The smallest thing can be the memory that lasts for ever. Long after the colouring book is completed and the latest toy has been pushed to the back of the cupboard your holiday with your grandchildren will stay. The beautiful thing is that when they have their own children the memory will be dusted off and repeated. It will emerge shinier, fresher and just as loved as the day you made it.