Having a grandchild stay with you for an extended visit can be fun but also challenging and you won’t have the luxury of sending them home at the end of the day or when you get tired. However, with a little planning an extended visit with your grandchild can be a rewarding experience for you both and one that will be remembered for years to come. To help you plan for your grandchild here are seven tips to get you off to a great start and ensure that your visit is successful.
Seven Tips For A Successful Extended Visit With Grandchildren
Do Your Homework
Prior to your grandchild’s arrival find out from their parents what their likes and dislikes are. Are there any fears or routines that your grandchild has. For instance my daughter has to go to sleep with the television on and a nightlight. My son on the other hand gets very upset if you close the door to his bedroom and tends to sleepwalk. All of these things are very important to know if you have grandchildren who will be staying with you. You also need to ask questions to better help you plan activities and meals during your grandchild’s stay. If the children are old enough you can ask them these types of questions instead of their parents.
Don’t wait until your grandchild arrives to stock up on items they need. If you know that your infant grandchild will be visiting and you will need a play pen or swing for them start looking for what you will need a few weeks ahead of time. To save money you might want to purchase these types of items used at a thrift store, garage sale or on Craigslist www.craigslist.com . You can also look for items that are free on Freecycle www.freecycle.org . Freecycle is a website that lets people recycle items they no longer need. After you’ve found out what types of food and activities your grandchild likes plan a trip to the store a few days prior to their arrival and stock up on their favorites and any supplies you need for the activities you have planned. Its much easier to shop without your grandchildren that it is with them, which is why its a go idea to get your shopping done early.
Lay Down The Rules
Once your grandchild arrives take some time to lay down the ground rules for their visit. Discuss what they are allowed to do and what they are not. You also need to discuss what the consequences of not following the rules will be. Its a good idea to have the child’s parents sit in on this discussion to ensure that your all on the same page and you are not going against a rule that your grandchild’s parents are adamant about their child following even when away from home. Involving the parents will cut down on any problems that may arise due to differences in parenting styles.
Provide Some Structure
While you want to have time to relax and enjoy some downtime with your grandchildren you will also want to include some structured activities. As a former preschool teacher I can tell you that kids and no structure for several days are not a good mix. Some good ideas for planning structured time are to have a specific arts and crafts time when you and your grandchild will work on craft projects together. Family Fun www.familyfun.com has some great craft ideas that are inexpensive and easy to do. You could also have a planned game time every day. Board games are a lot of fun and keep kids busy. Depending on the child’s age Memory, Bingo and Sorry are all good choices and available on line from Amazon www.amazon.com. you could also teach your grandchildren a game you played when you were young such as Jacks, Checkers or Tic Tac Toe. Children like to know whats going to happen when so let them know what your daily or weekly schedules going to be like. If you plan on going on a few outings during their visit show them on a calender when they will be going and let them count down the days until they go.
Stay In Touch
Children especially young ones have a hard time with being away from their parents for a long period of time.Make arrangements with your grandchild’s parents for them to stay in contact during the visit. Perhaps they could call at a certain time each day or maybe they could stay in touch by email. Take lots of pictures and help your grandchild to send them to mom and dad. Staying in touch will help ease fears and allow your grandchildren to enjoy their visit with you more fully.
Don’t Break the Bank
An extended visit with your grandchildren does not have to be expensive. There are many free and low cost activities you both can do together. Take trips to the park, visit the library, rent a movie for a Movie Night or plant a garden. There are so many things you can do together. Try looking on your cities website to find activities in your area. If you plan on doing a lot of crafts together Oriental Trading www.orientaltrading.com is a great place to order inexpensive craft projects and supplies from.
This is the most important tip of all, when all else fails sit back, relax and just enjoy being with your grandchildren!