Our lovely blogger Denise Wallin, Mrs ATWWAH shares her thoughts on multi-generational holidays.
We all know grandparents are important and generally provide lots of fun, endless toys and disregard for routines that parents have tried to instil in their toddlers, but what about holidaying with them too? More and more grandparents are joining their children and children’s children for family holidays.
If the thought of your parents or in-laws jetting off with you for a week fills you with dread maybe the following will convince you otherwise:
Built in babysitters: You are taking away the perfect babysitters – they’re free, they already know your kids, you can trust them and they will be available 24/7.
Neutral ground: Many families don’t live around the corner from the grandparents so holidaying together is a good way to spend time on ‘neutral ground’. They’re not getting under your feet or overstaying their welcome in your own house and you’re not living by their habits in their house.
Mutual love: Little people love grandparents and grandparents love little people. Sadly they won’t be around forever to see their grandkids grow up, so quality time on holiday is a great way for toddlers to spend time with their grandparents.
So, you’ve been convinced, you’re going to invite the grandparents along with you, how will this work?
Holiday expectations: You need to make sure that you’ve all got similar ideas on what makes a good holiday. If you enjoy exotic cuisine and finding out about different cultures whilst your parents/in-laws like nothing better than an English breakfast in the sun then you are going to have to make some compromises.
Discuss boundaries/conflict: Try to forsee what problems could occur in advance and then you or your partner have a word with the respective grandparents in the build up to the holiday. Admittedly this bit isn’t always the easiest to tackle but, for example, agree that for an hour or two a day your little one can go off with just the grandparents.
Be flexible: It is unlikely that the whole holiday will go without a cross word or having to bite your lip – so try to be flexible.
If budgets allow I can’t stress enough that you should try to make sure you have as much space as possible. This could mean requesting hotel rooms which aren’t next to each other, a villa with living space separate to bedrooms, separate lodges on holiday parks and so on.
Spending every mealtime together can get stressful especially if you’re early risers (most of us with toddlers are) and the grandparents like a late, leisurely breakfast. So, try not to always arrange to eat every mealtime together if possible. If you’re self-catering don’t always go for the sit down meal option, try a bbq or picnic and obviously make sure that you share the cooking and washing up.
Encourage everyone to do their own thing so you’re not always going around as a big entourage. If there is a sun worshipper then make sure they have time to themselves on the beach, if there is a watersports junkie let them go off on their own to do that and if possible book activities in advance so you already have a couple of things booked in that you are doing for yourselves.
We’ve gone away with grandparents a couple of times since Master ATWWAH was born and I’d be lying if I said they were completely perfect holidays. But I’m glad that memories were created on those holidays and even if Master ATWWAH doesn’t remember them, we have the photos and I know his grandparents loved the opportunity.