Most kids love a visit to Grandpa’s house, or a day with their favorite aunt. But what about spending the night, the weekend, or even a whole week with a relative? No matter how much your children may enjoy spending time with their relatives, the prospect of staying overnight with them can sometimes cause anxiety. But if you take the time to prepare your child, an overnight visit will be a valuable and fun experience. So check out these helpful tips to make sure your child’s visit with a relative is an overnight success.
Hopefully, your child has been to their relative’s house before, so the place is fairly familiar and they have some idea of what kind of behavior is acceptable there. If you want your child to be on their best behavior, it’s a good idea to give the relative a call discuss any house rules your child should know about. A little preparation beforehand can save your child the embarrassment and anguish of breaking a rule they didn’t know about.
Talking about the visit with your child can get them excited and soothe potential anxieties. Be sure to share some of the fun plans Grandma might have in store. Pack a comfort item for your child, like a favorite blanket or a special toy. Let your child know they can call you anytime, or, if you can’t take calls sometimes, let them know when they can call. When it comes time to drop your child off, keep your goodbye short and sweet.It’s best not to make a big deal about leaving.
What if you’re the one hosting a grandchild, niece, or nephew for an overnight stay? Kids thrive on activities, so have some in mind before the child comes, and when they get there, sit down and plan some more. What are we going to make for breakfast? Are we going to the park or to the beach? What bedtime story are we going to read? If the visit is for several days, invite the child along on some of your typical day-to-day activities. The child may find what you do fascinating.
If you’re going to be hosting frequent visits, it’s a good idea to keep some kid supplies in your home. Crayons, balls, blocks, and puppets appeal to almost any kid, and encourage grownups to join in with playtime. A shelf of picture books is a great way to have quiet time together. A high chair and crib are musts for overnight visits with little ones, as is a stock of kid-friendly snacks. Of course, you have plenty of leeway to give the child the sweets and treats Mom and Dad may deny them. Most parents will be so happy for a little alone time they won’t mind if Grandma spoils their kids by letting them stay up late and order pizza. Just remember to set ground rules, so the youngsters know that you are in charge tonight, and that if you say no to something, Mom and Dad agree.
Overnight visits with relatives are a fun and important childhood milestone. Learning to appreciate new places and accept relatives in mentoring roles can help kids grow and widen their perspective on the world. If you’re a parent, consider arranging a visit with your child’s favorite relative. And make sure your extended family knows that their children are always welcome in your home.