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Today I’m excited to talk about… getting your kids ready for trips to Grandma’s! Leaving your kids alone overnight while you travel for work or are fueling your marriage can be overwhelming so I’m sharing a few things that have made the leaving and the staying easier on all of us.
2018 has brought with it A LOT more traveling for me than I’m used to. Between February and May, I had two speaking engagements in California for work, a conference in Austin, and two international trips for fun. It was a lot of time to be away from my babies and while most trips were just a few days at a time, I’m glad to be spending a few solid months at home with my kids this summer. Right now we’re doing plenty of trips to Grandma’s with mom tagging along.
For most of my trips, my kids went up to my parents, an hour away in New Hampshire. I would hire babysitters to come in during the day while my parents worked from home and then rely on Grandma and Grandpa for evening routines. For the last few trips, my sister has been home from college and she was responsible for the kids full-time with some help from my parents.
Going to Grandma’s has turned into one of my kids’ favorite adventures! If you’re leaving your little ones with Grandma soon (or another babysitter), here are a few tips for making your departure + their trip go smoothly:
Tips for leaving your kids with Grandma:
- Leave them with someone you trust and they’re comfortable with. Family might be the right answer for you but this could also be a trusted babysitter or family friend. I think it’s important to realize the difference between a few hours of babysitting and a few days of full-time childcare and be sure you have someone up for the task.
- Routine: Keep as much of the routine as possible. Have a written (printed out) copy of key schedules and routines on hand for Grandma. If possible, spend 24 hours sometime before your trip with your kids and Grandma so she’s familiar with everything.
- Easy-to-use Gear: I made the mistake of leaving my double stroller at my parents without showing them how to break it down to fit in the car. Take a few minutes before you leave to show them how to use strollers and make sure that car seats are safely installed in the cars they’ll be driving. We recently upgraded Lincoln to the Maxi-Cosi Magellan 5-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, which clips in and out of cars simply and makes for an easy transition between our car and Grandma’s. I love that this seat can grow with Lincoln (or Adelaide). It’s a new 5-1 convertible seat that accommodates children from birth to age ten (5lbs. to 120lbs.)! Lincoln loves that the seat is comfortable, with premium fabrics that are machine washable with plenty of padding. He spent the first week talking about how we needed snacks or drinks for the little cup holders for each drive :P. As with every Maxi-Cosi car seat, the Magellan has been designed with comfort and style in mind, while providing a contemporary, yet timeless look.
- Love Books: I made these little Love Books for my kids for Valentine’s Day, just in time for my first trip away. They love looking at all the pictures of our family when we’re not all together. You can see how we put it together here.
- Snacks: Even if Grandma + Grandpa are taking care of meals, stock a few of your kid’s favorite snacks before you leave (they always eat more than you think they will). I also like to have a few boxes of macaroni and cheese on hand, just in case.
- Consider FaceTime: This is going to depend on you and your child. If we’re away for more than three days, I do like to check in and FaceTime for a few minutes at least once on our trip. But, I do often find that seeing us makes it harder for them. My parents report the kids are playing fine until we show up on the phone screen and then it reminds them about missing us (or there have been times where they couldn’t be bothered to stop playing to chat and we had to work hard not to feel bad :P). Some parents check out entirely and don’t call while they’re gone and this works well for them. Others make a schedule to call at the same time every day so their kids can know what to expect.
- Letters + Gifts: I love the idea of leaving little notes or gifts for your children to open while you’re gone. They’re great reminders that you’re thinking of them and they’re something fun to look forward to once you’re gone. You could leave a note on each child’s bed before you leave or give Grandma some wrapped gifts (like a single coloring book) to open each day while you’re gone.
- Essentials: If you’re taking your kids to someone else’s house, this is important. Put together a small bag with hygiene + emergency essentials like toothbrushes, kid toothpaste, and Children’s Tylenol.
- Say Goodbye: DON’T slip out the door while your child is happily playing and return four days later. Experts agree this makes your child more anxious and clingy in the long run. Instead, find a time they’re about to go do a fun activity and let them know you’re leaving. It will help they have something fun to look forward to but it will also keep them assured that you aren’t leaving unless you say you are and give them more confidence that Grandma and Grandpa aren’t going to desert them either.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.