A grandfather and grandson ride a dolphin.
Missing your grandchildren? According to Traveling with Grandkids authors Dean and Nancy Hoch, 38 percent of grandparents clock quality together time by taking their grandchildren on vacation. Some tips for doing it right:
- Be fair. Start by inviting the eldest grandchild. On a later trip, you can invite the next eldest.
- Start early. When they’re toddlers, begin with half-day outings to a pumpkin patch or zoo. As they grow, graduate to day trips and then overnighters. Elementary school kids are ready for three-day trips; teenagers can travel for up to two weeks.
- Aim to please. Opt for places that coincide with the child’s own interests—whether those are dinosaurs, dolphins, volcanoes, or castles.
- Pack smart. Carry copies of insurance information, a birth certificate, and a notarized letter giving you permission to travel with the child.
- Set some rules. Let kids know how you expect them to behave and how your rules differ from their parents’.
- Let them call home—occasionally. Instead of calling every day—which can escalate homesickness—urge kids to write postcards to their parents and shop for souvenirs to take home to them.
Illustration by Michael Klein
This article was first published in May 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.