Going on a trip with grandchildren adds another dimension to slow travel. You want them to enjoy the trip as much as you do, so you have to work to their schedule as much as possible. That includes taking time out to let them be kids: explore, touch base with their parents and friends at home, and just hang out and talk. After all, half the reason to travel with your grandchildren, assuming you don’t live near them, is to reconnect, strengthen that bond and to find out what their thoughts are.
So, as much as you might be tempted to drag them from cathedral to monument and fill their heads with as much information as possible, we think you and they would be happier if stick to the tenants of slow travel:
- See a few things well, rather than maximizing how many things you see. That gives everybody a chance to absorb an experience, have your own thoughts about it, rather than being spoon fed – which sounds a lot like the worst parts of school.
- Take time to get everybody’s input on what they’re interested in. Not everybody will get to do everything they want, but if it’s divided up fairly, then everybody feels like they’re being listened to.
- When it’s time to eat, try to avoid grabbing a meal on the run. Even if the kids want to eat fast food, you can usually all sit down at the same table and have a conversation.
- Give everyone time to get a good night’s sleep. Children’s sleep schedules are different than and adult’s, and are constantly changing as they age. As much as possible, let them sleep as much as they need to. While they’re asleep, instead of getting frustrated that time is being wasted, give yourself some quiet time. This is especially frustrating if you’ve got kids of widely differing ages, so you’ve got youngsters up bouncing around early in the morning while teenagers are sleeping in. This might take some imagination to solve, like one grandparent taking the little ones out while the other reads at “home,” or arranging to meet the teenager at a certain time and (close by) place when they wake up.
Above all, patience is key. The main thing is spending quality time with the grandkids, not coming home with a pile of pictures.