By Ronda Addy

Being a grandparent puts you in the position of being able to enjoy your grandchildren without all of the responsibilities. Sadly, your family is spread out across the country, making spending time with the grandkids difficult. This year, why not change that by taking a vacation with your grandkids. It’s not as hard as you might think.

Most experts agree that the best age to take children on vacation is between 11 and 14 years old. By that time, children are old enough to be responsible and enjoy the trip. At the same time, they aren’t too old to have fun or be seen with anyone over age 18. Along with your grandchildren’s ages, you must take their attention span into consideration. Some children within the ideal age range simply don’t have the attention span for a trip.

When selecting a destination, you should keep your grandchildren’s ages, attention spans and interests in mind. Children with short attention spans, for example, may not enjoy historical sites. Zoos and amusement parks might be a better idea. Whatever you do, do not plan a bus tour. Your grandchildren will not enjoy having to sit still for that long.

You should select a destination that you and your grandchildren will enjoy. You should inform your grandchildren where they are going and encourage them to read up on what they will be seeing. You should let them decide if there is any special place they would like to visit. If there is a place you absolutely want to see, you should let your grandchildren know that in advance so they can get used to the idea and will respect your wishes when the time comes.

For the best results, you should not to plan an activity for every minute of the vacation. Let everyone have some “me” time. Too much togetherness isn’t necessarily a good thing. Whatever you do plan, inform your grandchildren ahead of time what they will be seeing or doing and keep them entertained by making a game out of things. Have them act out what happened at an historical site or create a quiz based on what they hear and see.

If your vacation involves air travel, you should prepare your grandchildren for what that might entail. Explain the screening process to them and remind them not to joke about having a gun or bomb. Let them know their bag will be returned to them after it has been x-rayed as will their shoes.

Try to select a hotel geared toward children and supervise your grandchildren at all times. Monitor their TV viewing and allow them access to the mini-bar sparingly. Watch them in the swimming pool and insist they wear shoes when walking through the hotel.

Vacationing with your grandchildren can be great fun as long as you select the right destination and establish some ground rules beforehand. Let your grandchildren know what to expect and how they should behave, and everyone is sure to have fun.

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