Make Your Grandchild's Visit a Success
By Lauren Teegarden
Make the most of your grandchild's visit this summer by being prepared for both the best and worst. During the visit, you'll have a chance to spend valuable time with your grandchildren and make some special memories that both of you will treasure for years to come. Do not expect any visit to be perfect - there will be highs and lows, good moments and bad moments. By following these suggestions, you can make the visit the best possible.
Before the Grandchildren Arrive
Make your house kid-friendly by putting away any breakable items or heirlooms. Even older children can accidentally break things; prevent any unwanted tears (for either of you) by placing vases, artwork, and expensive dishes out of reach. Also, put all medicine, cleaning supplies, and other toxins out of reach. Have emergency contact information on hand, including phone numbers for parents, doctor, and poison control.
Create your own permanent collection of games, books, and toys. Kids will remember their favorite activities from the last visit and look forward to them - especially any old fashioned toys that are a novelty.
Visit the grocery store in advance and purchase their favorite foods and treats. You'll avoid any quibbling, and they'll enjoy having the foods that mommy doesn't let them have at home.
During the Visit
Keep your own social plans to minimum in order to have as much free time as possible to spend with your grandchildren. Also, keep housework and other chores to a minimum while your grandchildren join you. But don't hesitate to encourage your grandchildren to play alone for at least an hour each day--all adults need a break at some point! Make sure that kids have an opportunity for physical activity each day: plan a visit to the park, a trip to the local swimming pool, or a bike ride.
Mimic familiar routines as much as possible, including bed times, meals, and naps. Young children, especially, will miss their parents, so let them call or email their parents regularly. Encourage your grandchildren to bring a favorite toy, game, or book to share with you.
If you begin to run out of ideas for activities, discover what events your community offers for children. Explore the local children's museum, experience a community festival, or enjoy a free concert at the park. Give your grandchildren two or three options, and then let them decide on the activity for the day. It is okay to say "no," though. You are not obligated to do everything that your grandchildren want to do.
At the End
While you certainly will enjoy the time spent with your grandchildren, do not plan too long of a visit; it is best if your grandchildren leave before they really want to go home. (That way, they'll look forward to returning for a visit the next summer!) Even when things do not go as planned, remember that you are privileged to have your grandchildren visit you.
Lauren Teegarden, a high school senior, lives in Portland, Oregon. With grandparents of her own, Lauren recognized the value of strong grandparent-grandchild interactions and started "The Grandparent Connection," a free monthly email newsletter with articles, advice, and activities for grandparents. Visit her website, www.thegrandparentconnection.org, to sign up for the newsletter.