Our Florida Challenge #7
I am absolutely thrilled that my parents in-laws will be joining us for the Orlando leg of our trip to Florida. Having a multi-generation group really can bring out the best that family travel has to offer, if you handle it right!
We have travelled as a multi-generation travel group before but of course every holiday has its own logistics and challenges to deal with so it is always worth setting some ground rules to make it an enjoyable experience for everybody concerned. A few ideas to include are:
- Establish what you want normal wake up, nap times and bed times to be and if there are times that grandparents would prefer not to be disturbed (just because you have an open bathroom door policy doesn’t mean everyone else will appreciate it!!)
- Set expectations on what part of your family’s normal routine must be maintained and where some flexibility can be allowed, e.g. if you have set meal times or no sweets rules make this clear.
- Get some ground rules on gift buying. It’s perfectly natural for grandparents to want to spoil their little ones but maybe set a spending limit or remove the temptation for the kids to run to them as soon as you say “no” to the umpteenth purchase request that day – it doesn’t take them long to work out how to play you if you don’t have a united front.
- If you (mum and dad!) expect some babysitting or alone time during the holiday, make this clear up front; don’t take it as given but do try and build it in at some point. This is a great opportunity for children who perhaps spend little time away from their own parents to gain some independence in a safe and loving environment.
- Point out that not everything on your proposed itinerary needs to be done as a big group; this is a perfect opportunity to split down into smaller groups, let one adult have a rest or morning off, let one child have some quality alone time with one parent or grandparent. Try all different combinations if you can!
- If possible stay at the same place rather than organizing rendezvous points. A shared villa may be the best option and cheaper than several hotel rooms.
- If sharing where cleaning and cooking is needed, establish a few small ground rules on cooking, washing, cleaning up so everyone is doing their bit; likewise if dining out how will you look to split the bills?
- Just as children can tire early, so can grandparents! Many grandparents are still very spritely and active but its a fact of life that age can start to slow you down. Build in an appropriate amounts of rest stops and breaks so everyone can keep up the pace.
- Accept that your children will have at least one complete meltdown at some point during the holiday to make you look like a completely incompetent parent in front of your in-laws.
Added to our challenge on this particular trip is that we are both coming from completely opposite sides of the world, flying ultra long-haul to meet together in Orlando. We will have to factor in the effects of jet lag to our timetable of what can be achieved in our short time together while making sure the time together is still ‘quality’ and not just a blurred rush of things on a to do list.
To share such a magical experience as Walt Disney World though with grandparents is truly going to be worth any of the heartache and tears it might take to get us there. Of all the challenges this holiday is throwing up, I’m sure this is the one we should be able to knock over the easiest.
Do you travel with other members of your family? How do you split responsibilities to make sure everyone gets the most out of the experience?