Life is a journey. Sometimes in the midst you have marvelous smaller journeys. People do this all the time with young ones. If you’re a parent with a toddler, your baby goes on vacation with you. If your a grandparent raising a grandkid it’s the same. Our five year old grandson, Anthony, comes with us, even to get coffee with friends, it’s a package deal. I am blessed to have friends and family who understand.
Recently we took a vacation/ business trip to New York City. Taking a little one anywhere is a challenge. How did we manage it? We were blessed to be able to have family go with us to help with Anthony while we did the business part of our trip. Here’s some ideas that I hope will help you.
- Anticipation- Part of the enjoyment of vacations is planning and anticipation. How do you get a young one excited about someplace they have never been?
- Enthusiasm- Tell them where you’re going and the exciting places they will see.
- Books-Get books with pictures to show them the places they will see. Anthony was excited to see the Statue of Liberty, though he did not know about it before.
- Movies- Relate the places you will see to the movies they have seen. We went to Central Park Zoo so we told Anthony we were going to where Alex the lion lived from the movie “Madagascar.”
- Save- Put coins in their bank so they can buy souvenirs. This will teach the value of money.
- Homework- If they are in school, let the school know about their absence and they can prepare homework to make up for them. For Anthony we took pages from his kindergarten workbook. (Just don’t ask us if we used them!) Keep the time out of school to a minimum. We have a trip to Disney planned in Nov. that involves leaving Friday and returning Monday. A whirlwind getaway to say the least
- Attention- Pay attention to them. Point things out, from the planes to the lights on Times Square. Make sure they feel included.
- Identification- Name tags with phone numbers just in case. Make sure they know holding hands is not an option, especially walking the streets of New York.
- Appropriate- Some memorials or museums are age specific. Anthony was to young to see some of the 911 memorial.
- Rest- Allow time for rest between excursions. This is crucial for adults and kids. It brings refreshing to conquer the next site or event.
- Souvenirs- Allow the kids to pick out the items they will remember. Keep size in mind. He wanted a huge Mickey Mouse Statue of Liberty stuffed animal, sorry- so cute but no room on the plane!
- Pictures- Take lots of them, and videos. Include people with the sites you see. It’s so fun to look back on.
- Food- Healthy snacks and foods are difficult to find on the run. Be intentional about planning some with good nutrition. We always take Clif bars and some restaurants include carrot sticks or grapes. Make sure everyone gets their daily vitamins.
- Bathroom- The big city has a scarcity of public bathrooms. Plan ahead for peeing. Go ahead of time, where you can and when you can, whether your little one has to go or not before you leave. Just don’t use the public elevators which some homeless people have been known to use!
- Games- Bring cards, tablets, books,crayons or games on your phone.
- Schedule- Spontaneity is great, but some excursions need to be reserved ahead of time or you won’t get in.
1.) Review- Look at brochures, pictures, magnets on the refrigerator. Include the kids in discussions about places you went, and what their favorite part was.
2.) Appreciate- Dorothy had it right, “there’s no place like home.” Anthony said as he laid on his bed and snuggled and sighed, “It’s so good to be home!”
Make your home your best vacation, a place of Love, Life and Laughter!
Happy Trails! Debbie
Sam is a businessman, writer, entertainer, speaker, husband, father to five children, grandfather and great grandfather. Sam graduated from Huntington University with a B.A. in psychology and drama and pursued a degree in Broadcasting from Illinois Central College with graduate degree in Christian Ministry from Christian Leadership University. Sam is the creator of Granpa Cratchet, one of the most successful touring shows in the history of the live events industry. Millions of people see Granpa every year all across the United States at fairs and festivals. His characters have appeared on every major network: Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, The Today Show (4 times). Sam and his characters have made over 500 local appearances and on all the major networks; NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN, PBN, The LeSea Network, The PTL Network and Praise the Lord. They currently appear all around the world every week on YouTube and Facebook, and on several satellite networks via the Kidz Television Network and The Captain Hook (children's) Show.