Children thrive on habits and consistency. To keep them feeling (and behaving) their best, make sure you maintain your preschooler's schedule while you are out of town. It's not always easy if you are in a different time zone or staying with relatives who like to get up super early or stay up late, but just do the best you can. If possible, try talking to your parents ahead of time about Junior's schedule (particularly naptime and bedtime) so it isn't a surprise during the visit.
It's not always easy for little ones to understand that rules change in different environments. Talking to them ahead of time about the rules at grandma's house will help. Explain that grandma might like things quieter than in your house, prefers all food to be eaten at the table, doesn't appreciate jumping off furniture or finger painting on the drapes, etc. Remind your preschoolers that there will be consequences for any rules broken at Grandma's house, just like at your own home.
Choose a few of your toddler's favorite toys to bring along to grandma's house. (Unless of course grandma has a ginormous stockpile all her own.) Try to choose toys that don't have a million tiny pieces which might get lost during your travels. The best choices might be interactive toys like blocks, play dough, Legos, board games or other activities that grandma can do with Junior while sitting down.
Make a checklist of all the things you use on a daily basis with your little ones. Don't get stuck at grandma's without your nighttime training pants, binky, sippy cup, bedtime stories, blankie, favorite teddy bear or other essentials. And make sure to pack extras, too! You never know when grandma's pet poodle might decide to make a meal out of Junior's sippy cup and Armageddon breaks loose!
Discuss some fun family activities ahead of time with your parents. Take a peek at what's available for families to do in the local area and plan accordingly. Is there a zoo, children's museum or botanical garden the family could visit? Are there kid-friendly restaurants where you can have a bite to eat nearby? Set a game plan that everyone agrees upon and the whole family will have a blast creating wonderful memories together at grandma's house.
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