Before the Grandkids Come We Get Ready for Fun!
BY KAREN L. RANCOURT
My husband and I live in Fort Lauderdale November – May. The rest of the year we’re at the Jersey Shore near our daughter, son-in-law, and two grandsons, now 15- and 12-years-old. Happily, our grandsons visit us as many as three times a year when we’re in Florida.
We want to get them from the plane to the beach as fast as possible. Here’s how we expedite this process.
Before their first visit of the season, our daughter packs and ships us a couple of boxes with the clothes they’ll need for “fun in the sun.” We put the clothes in their assigned drawers in “their armoire” and hang things in “their space” in the closet. (We have a washer and dryer so they don’t need a lot of clothes.) After their last visit of the season we ship the clothes back. This eliminates the need for luggage; a backpack with their digital devices and snacks is all they bring.
“Aren’t you afraid of spoiling them by doing everything for them?”
Plan food and activities in advance
Before they come we ask for a list of all the food and beverages they’d like us to have on hand. We shop at our leisure instead of rushing around once they’ve arrived. Favorite foods (like crusted tilapia and roasted chicken) are prepared in advance and frozen.
When the boys were younger we had plastic bins for each of them containing books, games, and crafts. We kept them in storage between visits and would retrieve them as needed. Each boy had his “activity corner” ready when he came through the door.
Also in advance, my husband, “Peps” to our grandsons, gets their bikes out, pumps the tires, and oils the chains. He makes sure that their basketballs have air, the wheels on their skateboards are oiled, and their boogie boards are polished.
When we tell friends the details of our preparation for their visits, they often ask: “Aren’t you afraid of spoiling them by doing everything for them?”
We answer: “It’s our joy to spoil them this way. We want to do whatever we can to help them get from the plane to the beach in short order.” Our grandsons and their parents make sure we know how much they appreciate our efforts.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – KAREN RANCOURT, Ph.D.
Karen L. Rancourt, Ph.D., writes an advice column for parents and grandparents at Mommybites.com and is the author of Ask Dr. Gramma Karen, Volume II: Savvy Advice to Help Soothe Parent-Grandparent Conflicts.