It’s As Much About The Journey As The Destination
The grandparent-grandchild relationship is a thing of joy and delight. Taking a trip with your grandchildren is a wonderful leveller and a great way of connecting. You get to share unique experiences that will help to strengthen your bond and create long-lasting memories.
For some grandparents, the very thought of taking their newest family member outside can be very daunting. But it doesn’t need to be difficult.
Here are some ways to create smooth, enjoyable experiences with your grandchildren the next time you venture outdoors.
Children love an adventure
When you’re considering taking them out, don’t limit yourself to just driving. Taking a walk to the shop down the road is a great opportunity to teach grandchildren about the place they live and to embed a sense of community. Similarly, you can recreate the excitement you felt the very first time you travelled on a big, noisy bus with your grandchild. Plan a trip on the train just for the sake of it. As with life, it’s all about the journey, not the destination.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail
Create a survival kit; sunscreen, a light change of clothes, baby wipes, disposable plastic bags and the all important snacks and drinks. Best not to get caught unawares even if you’re happy in the knowledge they’ve just had a good breakfast. Little ones are growing and changing daily, so you never can tell when a snack may be needed. It doesn’t have to be a messy snack nor take ages to prepare at home, because there are so many convenient options to choose from these days, and there’s always the good old trusty banana.
Make a game out of packing the bag. Involve your grandchild by making it a game of hide and seek. Ask them to go hunting for the various items and then pop them into the bag. You’re teaching proper life skills AND you get a helping hand. Win, win.
Before heading out, it’s worth familiarising yourself with how to work the car seat. Practice buckling and tightening the straps so you’re primed and confident with using it. That way you can have some real fun as you position the little ones. You can even make it into a game where the car seat is their throne and they are the King or Queen. It’s also a good idea to lay some ground rules in advance. Introduce them as you prepare for the outing and reinforce them on the journey. Rules such as, ‘hold hands with Grandma’ and ‘in the car seat don’t fiddle with the harness,’ are simple, easy to understand instructions that are absolutely non-negotiable. And of course it’s super important they know to wait for someone to unbuckle them at the end of the journey.
See the world through different eyes
Outside the front door is a world of great big adventures for your grandchildren. Remember how small your tots are. If you get right down to their level and see things the way they do, you’ll realise just how giant everything is. The letterbox at the end of the garden could be a spaceship that has landed from another galaxy. The flower pots are signposts for that galaxy. You get the idea. Give them a starting point, and then let their little minds go into overdrive. They’ll love that you’re in that world with them; the world of pure imagination.
Ways to enjoy the ride
Now you’re prepared and have taken those first steps on your journey with your little charges, aim to relax and enjoy it. It’s entirely possible you may have an appointment to keep, so leave in plenty of time to allow you to relish the journey with your little sidekick. Kids have no concept of time because they live in the moment and that’s part of what childhood is all about; having no deadlines or alarms, only fun time. The wonderful thing is, for the duration of the journey, you can join them in this thing called ‘the present’. Take the opportunity to really soak up the ‘here and now’ with your grandchildren. On that note, here are some ways to have even more fun on your outing together.
1. Count all the cats/dogs/blue cars you spot
2. Walk without stepping on the cracks on the pavement
3. Waddle like a penguin or hop like a bunny
4. Play eye spy with colours
5. Name all the different methods of transport you see
Properly equipped, you’ve nothing to fear travelling with your grandchildren. So embrace a world of possibilities and enjoy your time together, because before you know it, they’ll be applying for their first driver’s license.