Grandparents can take advantage of the freedom of RVing to connect with their grandchildren and enjoy uninterrupted quality time, explore new places, and share experiences.
RVing with the grandkids requires some preparation. Discuss with parents the essentials of packing for the trip—especially if they’re not RVers. It’s useful for each child to have a tote bag with handles to carry their own toiletries, towel, washcloth, soap, shampoo, and shower clogs.
Routines work well with children. Discuss the particulars of the trip—including your expectations—and other specifics such as mealtimes and bedtimes. Will they have spending money and how much? What are the rules that go along with that responsibility? How frequently will they check in with Mom and Dad? What about the use of smartphones, video games, and other electronic gadgets? The more you are clear and upfront, the better prepared they will be to enjoy their time with you.
Pack all the essentials including coloring books, legos, puzzles, and any other activities that will help to keep the grandchildren occupied. Provide them with a journal and scrapbook, clipboard and paper, and pencil and paper to record their travel experiences, press leaves or flowers.
Print a series of Google Maps for each child so they can follow along.
Enlist the grandchildren as navigators by putting them in charge of tracking your route on a map. Have them exercise their math skills by figuring out how far you’ve come, and how far to your next rest stop or destination.
Plan for roadside stops every 60 to 90 minutes. Let the grandchildren run around, play tag, toss a ball or Frisbee, and generally let off steam.
State-run welcome stations are always a worthwhile stop. They offer clean restrooms, ample parking for recreational vehicles, and free travel information, maps, and brochures.
Choose campgrounds that are kid-friendly and offer a variety of activities. Do they have a swimming pool? Miniature golf? Playground? Fishing pond? Planned activities? Resort campgrounds often feature hayrides, water slides, tennis courts. National and state parks offer ranger-led activities.
Children can be helpful in setting up and departing camp. Before leaving home, assign chores that will be their responsibilities including keeping their own belongings together neatly in their assigned space. Also family chores such as taking trash to the dumpster, meal prep and clean up.
Know who is responsible for each grandchild at all times. Don’t leave room for “I thought she was with you” tragedies. In the outdoors, one of the best safety devices is a whistle for each person.
Allow your grandchildren to interact with others their age, running about and having a ball.
Above all, enjoy your grandchildren. None of us will ever be at this time and place again. They will never be this age again. You owe it to yourself, and to them, to live and enjoy every second of it!