Have a Grand Adventure
Betty M. Miller
Traveling with grandchildren can be a great opportunity to share time together without the daily distractions of TV, sports activities, computer games, and household chores. You will see the world in a new way, through younger eyes. A curious young mind is like magic. It will transform the sights you see and the things you experience together. Are you up for the challenge?
Not every trip needs to be to an amusement park. Let their parents have that pleasure. Make your trips together something that you will all enjoy and learn from. Share the places and things that you are passionate about. Use trips with your grandchildren to share who you really are and to expand their understanding of family connections. If possible, allow your grandchildren to take a trip back in time. Visit the community in which you grew up, sharing those all-important family stories.
Tell your grandchildren about some of the interesting characters in your family. Search through your old pictures and have photocopies made of pictures that you think your grandchildren will enjoy. With a photocopy the children can hold them, get them dirty, and cherish them without worrying about ruining family heirlooms.
Even if you can’t visit the old homestead or your hometown you can take a step back in time by visiting a local pick-your-own fruit farm with your grandchildren. Fruit
picking is an activity children of all ages can enjoy, especially with the promise of a freshly baked dessert. Be prepared with proper shoes, water, sunscreen, and insect repellant. Come home and involve the children in making something delicious with your harvest, perhaps an old family recipe. Maybe this would be a good time to celebrate by having dessert first and the meal later.
When traveling by car, always use the appropriate car safety seat for the age and weight of each grandchild. Infants need to ride in a rear-facing seat until they are a year old and weigh at least 20 pounds. Toddlers should ride in a child safety seat until they weigh at least 40 pounds. Children between 40 and 80 pounds should sit in a belt-positioning booster seat. The safest place for all children twelve and under to ride is in the back seat. Florida Law says all passengers under the age of 18 must use a seat belt while riding anywhere in the vehicle and all front seat occupants must buckle up regardless of age. The popular Family Album Radio produced by UF/IFAS Extension and WUFT-FM reminds parents and grandparents to set a good example by always wearing your seat belt. Encourage buckling up as a lifelong habit.
Don’t forget to take a camera, perhaps even one of those disposable cameras for each grandchild so that they can record their individual view of the trip. Upon returning, help the children create some scrapebook pages to add to an album that they can share with everyone in the family, extending their excitement and preserving their special memories.
Remember to tell stories about the trips you shared with the grandchildren’s parents when they were young. If you have pictures of earlier trips or vacations, that’s even better. It’s another great way to share your family history. Happy traveling!