Vacationing with the Littlest Guests Basic Rules of the Road by Kathy Bertone
Find a parent who breezes through an airport with one suitcase and a carry-on, and I'll show you a parent who left their child at home. Good planning will mean less stress and headache for you the entire visit, but there's a fine line between dragging the entire contents of your home and leaving everything to chance. You want to be prepared, but not overburdened. So, what to bring?
Start with the basics. Consider this list and start checking off who will provide each item: you, your host, or a rental service. Thankfully, there are places, easily found on the Internet, where you can rent items like cribs and car seats (even bottle sterilizers), which can be delivered to your destination.
You Host Rental
_____ _____ _____ Crib or bassinet
_____ _____ _____ Playpen
_____ _____ _____ Sleeping bags
_____ _____ _____ Car seat
_____ _____ _____ Baby bottles and/ or medicines
_____ _____ _____ Specific foods/formula
_____ _____ _____ Baby monitor
_____ _____ _____ Breast-feeding equipment
_____ _____ _____ Diapers, diaper bag, baby wipes, powder, etc.
_____ _____ _____ Night-light
_____ _____ _____ Plastic sheets if your child may wet the bed
_____ _____ _____ Entertainment material
_____ _____ _____ Sports equipment, life preservers, sunglasses, lotion
_____ _____ _____ Stroller(s)
_____ _____ _____ Baby gates
_____ _____ _____ Appropriate clothing for the weather and activities planned
Share with your host the items on your list you are hoping they can provide. If you're worried that your needs will sound like a list of demands from a spoiled 'tweener—don't. Most hosts will appreciate your thoughtfulness by not having to scramble to get things after you arrive. Once they know what you need, and if they don't have it, it gives them the opportunity to ask a neighbor or friend to supply something for the time you will be there. Your host will let you know what is not available. Coordinating with them in advance is the key.
How you are getting to the visit makes a difference in what you can bring, or not. Know what is allowed on an airplane, bus or train. It is always best to call the transportation company ahead or check their website.
VISIT TIP: Take the time to research the place you will be visiting. Check to see where the nearest doctor, pharmacy, playground or park, theater, library, or pool is located. Although one would assume the host will know but Grandma may not have been water sliding in a long time!
If there are things your children can't or won't eat or are allergic to, let your host know. Your host will appreciate not spending time or money on things that won't be consumed. Emailing a list ahead is a smart and reasonable thing to do. You can always add the words, "But if you were not planning on going to the market, no worries! I am happy to go after we arrive." If your child only eats certain foods, and you are driving, bring some with you. Don't expect your host to have specialty items unless you request them in advance.
Brush up on basics with your children before the visit. Go through the photo album and remind them who's who. Teach, or remind, young men and women the importance of shaking hands with a solid grip and looking adults in the eye. Tell them what is not allowed and what behavior you expect, and what you hope they might enjoy during the visit. Remind them of basic manners, such as saying "please" and "thank you" and "may I?" Children are much more comfortable when they know how to behave and what is expected of them.
VISIT TIP: Help your child make, or simply bring, a gift for the host or the children of the host. Even children feel special when presenting a gift and proud not arriving empty-handed.
Don't break your own rules just because you're visiting. If you want your children to be in bed at a certain time, make it happen. You rule! If you don't want them to drink sodas or watch a movie you think is inappropriate, don't let them. Your host should respect your rules and support them.
Although difficult, do not allow your children to use electronic games or gadgets excessively. The point of the visit is for everyone to be involved with each other—to be inclusive—not reclusive. This is especially important, of course, when young ones are visiting grandparents.
When you get home have the child create, or pick out, a thank-you card for the host. No, this time email will not do. How artistic the card is makes absolutely no difference. The fact that it is handmade makes it beautiful. And the child will learn a valuable lesson from doing it.
About the author
Kathy Bertone, Naples, Florida, is the co-founder and former managing partner of a merger and acquisition firm located outside Washington, DC. For years, she and her husband have enjoyed entertaining friends and family in their three homes. She is the author of the new book, The Art of the Visit: Being the Perfect Host, Becoming the Perfect Guest. Visit www.theartofthevisit.com.
Kids stuff freebies!
Coloring and dot to dot sheets FreePrintable.net has many coloring and dot to dot pages
you can print off for a craft table activity at your reunion. There are lots of cars, trucks and outer space images for boys and fantasy, fairies and flowers for girls.
Free summer bowling for kids Kids Bowl Free program is sponsored by hundreds of bowling centers around the country. Register kids age 15 and under at a participating bowling center (some centers 18 and under) to receive an email link to print weekly coupons good for two free games a day, at that center only, for the whole summer. Daytime only; shoe rentals not included.
Now, the Kids Bowl Free Program is a proud supporter of the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) encouraging everyone to adopt more active lifestyles. Bowling participation will be reported regularly to the White House.
Fun for kids
Plan activities for kids at your reunion and you'll avoid dreaded boredom. Check all the free coloring sheets, games and activities for kids at crayola.com.
Hot Springs National Park
Junior Rangers National Junior Ranger programs at 300 national parks engage children and families in the stories of their national parks. Children complete activity books during park visits then, share their answers with a park ranger to receive an official Junior Ranger badge or patch and Junior Ranger certificate. List of participating parks at http://www.nps.gov/learn/juniorranger.htm.
WebRangers The National Park Service's on-line Junior Ranger program, WebRangers, offers more than 50 games to learn about your National Parks.
The St. Anthony (Idaho) Family History Center is introducing youth to descendancy research using a PowerPoint presentation called "Just Cuz!" Its purpose is to identify and become acquainted with as many living relatives as you can find. "Just Cuz!" has several links with step-by-step instructions about how to enter data, add notes and even add pictures and other multi-media such as audio and video.
Kids tour Pearl Harbor free
Polynesian Adventure Tours - Gray Line Hawaii offers "Kids Go Free" to six popular Pearl Harbor tours into 2011. It's a wonderful learning experience for all generations." Kids ages 11 and under good for one child per paid accompanying adult to
· Pearl Harbor, Arizona Memorial & Punchbowl National Cemetery of the Pacific (value of $23.00) ·Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor (value of $42.00) ·Pacific Aviation Museum, USS Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor (value of $38.00) ·Pearl Harbor Heroes Adventure Tour (value of $57.00) ·Pearl Harbor, Circle Island Tour (value of $44.00) ·Grand Circle Island, Kualoa Ranch and Dole Pineapple Plantation Tour (value of $45.00)
A pilgrimage to Pearl Harbor is a must for Americans of all ages. These experiences bridge generations, create new memories and carry forth the legacies of these legendary ships.