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Traveling with a gang of grandkids

Going away with multi ages?

Some grandparents do it to be fair to all the siblings. Some grandparents do it so cousins get to know each other. Some grandparents simply love having all — or at least a group — of their grandchildren with them at once. However, unless your grandkids are twins or same-age cousins, you should consider the challenges — and pleasures — the age differences create.

Grandparents on vacation with grandkids

When you are first considering a trip with your grandkids — before you even mention it to them — decide how many children you can handle at one time. That may depend on the type of trip you plan to take. Also, decide with which age group of grandchildren you'd be most comfortable.

One grandmother I know loves to take a group of her grandkids to the beach each summer. But, she will only take those ages 7-13. She feels that she can neither physically keep up with younger grandchildren, nor keep late enough hours to properly supervise the older teens.

Once you make your decision, stand firm. If someone tries to change your mind, remember that your decision was made in the best interest of everyone's welfare and fun. A compromise might jeopardize that.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind that will help keep the peace throughout your travels with the grandkids.

1. Don't default all the plans to one child's needs or interests.

Your grandchildren have varied interests and attention spans. Frankly, it's easier to match your trip plans with the grandchild whose interests most closely match yours, or with the one who needs the most supervision. When you do that, you leave the other grandkids feeling short-changed and miserable.

It might be easier to have every dinner at a kid-friendly restaurant for a messy 6-year-old, but you'll miss out on local cuisine or the chance to give your grandchildren a new experience. Allow each grandchild to pick at least one activity during the trip. It could be an outing, a restaurant, or an evening's entertainment. Yes, there will be times when the younger children will be bored, but you don't want the older kids to be bored the whole trip, either.

Next page: Giving your grandkids freedom and babysitting

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