Traveling solo with grandkids, part 2
Sandi Poindexter, grandparent and worldwide traveler has more suggestions for traveling solo with a grandchild based on research and personal experience in part two.
She suggests to set expectations, reinforced by parents. Beside the basics of where, when, and how, there are the creature comforts and specials considerations for traveling with children.
Where will we eat? How late can you sleep in? What’s unacceptable behavior? How will we get around? How much screen time is permitted? Is there free time? How will we keep safe? What do you do if lost? Does your teenage grandchild know your phone number if their phone is lost? Children should always carry an id, hotel info and phone numbers separately from a phone. Learning safety and group social skills will last a lifetime.
Souvenir buying doesn’t need to be an on-going struggle. Agree upon a souvenir process before you leave. You can write down a dollar limit on a piece of paper and put it with the money into an envelope called “The Bank.” Every purchase is paid by and subtracted by the child from the envelope total. Have the child write the item down on the paper.
When the bank is empty, there are no further purchases so remind the child to consider value, balance, and opportunity cost. Don’t be surprised if you hear a child’s self- debate “If I buy this, I can’t buy that. This costs too much. I don’t have that much left.” With this experience, a child may be able to understand a travel budget.
After the trip ask for an assessment of where money should be spent in the future – on lodging, eating out, activities, and why. While the answers may not be your preferences, the selection process is a route to expressing reasoned opinions.
Whining, pouting and other contrariness are inevitable so plan for it. Quietly wait it out, eat a snack, read a book, or find a park with a playground or nature area. Inserting these activities into your schedule may reduce problems. Calmly verbalizing when you become irritable can help a child learn how to handle their own behaviors. Watch for cues. Everyone needs a time out occasionally, some protein, and exercise. Maybe you are doing too much.
Plan ahead. Collect needed documents for the trip. Written parental permissions, insurance cards and birth certificates may suffice. If you travel internationally, visit the country’s embassy and immigration websites for rules on traveling with minors. In addition to passports, it may require original documents, immunization, notarized letters and marriage certificate when the child’s surname does not match yours.
After the trip while making a memory book, evaluate what worked and whether you met your goals. For more see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com and wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.