We’ve read many articles and posts lately celebrating the benefits of grandparents providing childcare for families. Studies are suggesting that taking on the responsibly of caring for grandchildren whilst parents go out to work is great for improving nana’s mental agility and keeping dementia at bay. And, of course, there are benefits for the kids too- being cared for by family members helps little ones to bond with their wider family, and for the parents it’s often a cheaper way to work things overall. So with this in mind, we asked our lovely community about taking grandparents on holiday. Is it a yes or a no?
We our holidays at our own pace
Jade, who blogs at Late for Reality, told us that she can see the appeal, but family holidays are special to them. She says, “we do enjoy that experience of spending time as a family in our own way without having to worry about others and what they want to do/waking them at the crack of dawn etc.” and others agree. When it is just you and your little ones, you don’t need to worry about adjusting your routine to suit anyone else.
But Sarah, who blogs at Toby Goes Bananas counters this with her experience of going away with her parents. She says, “ We went on a mobile home holiday in France and took my parents when Toby was 10 months. It was great - I would recommend doing something where you still have your own accommodation and remember you don't have to do everything together all the time.”
Emily at Emily and Indiana agrees, adding “We went away last year with my husbands parents. It was lovely to see the kids spending time with their grandparents, and it gave us a chance to go out for dinner by ourselves! We did have separate accommodation though, as I think everyone needs their own space!”
Our tip? Plan it well. Make sure everyone knows in advance that you’ll be having time to yourselves and that you might want to do different activities most days, a piece of advice echoed by Petra at A Mum Reviews. Separate accommodation is a great idea too, so that nobody feels stifled during your time away.
Grandparents shouldn’t be seen as cheap babysitters
There is a fine line. Nobody likes to feel used and there is noting worse than seeing the same miserable nana night after night pushing the pram up and down the pier trying to get baby to sleep while the parents live it up at the bar. Ok, so that’s an exaggeration but you get my point! Carolin at Mummy Alarm told us, “ I think going on a family holiday together can be great and if grandparents offer to babysit that's fine but I wouldn't purposely take my parents just so that I have a cheap babysitter. I'd feel bad about it as they deserve to relax too.”
Helena at Babyfoote agrees: “We have been on holiday with my parents a few times. I can't say it was so that we had a babysitter, more so we all had an extended period of time to see each other. Usually we only see my parents for a weekend at most, so 2 weeks together was lovely for everyone.”
Our tip? Make sure that grandparents get their space and their time to go out and explore too. Agree ahead of the trip how many nights out you will have, and make an effort to ensure childcare expectations are agreed before you go. Grandparents will inevitably want to help out, but don’t forget it is their holiday too.
Grandparents relish the chance to go away with the family
It’s so easy to judge and many of us are often too quick to do so. There’s a really good chance that many grandparents will jump at the chance to go away with the whole family and will want to babysit more than you realise. Sarah at The Herniman House told us, “We almost always go away with my parents. They're an amazing help and the kids really enjoy having them there.
We all get on brilliantly so it's actually nice for us to spend time with them too.” and Lucy at Real Mum Reviews adds” “We are planning on taking Dad away with us this October - since my Mum died he rarely gets to go away as he’s reluctant to travel alone”.
The joy for the grandparents should never be underestimated. Victoria at Mummy Times Two told us, “My mum is coming with us on a Disney Cruise this year. She has been away with us before and loves seeing the children's faces.” and we can’t think of a better reason to consider an extended family holiday. Jennifer at My Mummy’s Pennies agrees: ” When the children were small we went to Center Parcs for two holidays with my in laws, this meant that they got to spend some really quality time with the children”.
Our tip? Travelling is all about making memories, so why not include the grandparents in the magic?
You get some quality time together as a couple, and with the kids too
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking time out from the kids while you’re on holiday. Many of us are reluctant to admit that an afternoon lying by the pool with a cocktail actually sounds blissful, but why?!
Emily at Babies and Beauty told us that taking her parents on holiday with her was helpful “as it meant we got an evening to ourselves because ultimately holidaying abroad with small children can be super stressful too.” and this is echoed by Karen at That Lancashire Lass, who told us: “ We have just been away with my husband's parents. We went to Disney World so it meant we could all enjoy the theme park and take turns watching the baby. Without them my husband and I wouldn't have been able to enjoy rides alongside the older two children. It worked really well for us. “
Victoria at My Little L agrees, adding: “ Having grandparents around (who are willing to babysit) allows you to have a child free day, time to unwind and appreciate the sightseeing without the stress.”
You can spread the costs
If you’re sharing a villa, then it makes sense to fill the rooms up and spread the cost! And an extra set of adults on holiday also means that every days costs can be lowered too. Rachel at The Little Pip told us that not only do they love having the grandparents with them on holiday, but the practical benefits suit them all too. “We usually have one set of grandparents join us for a few days.” she says. “I love an intergenerational holiday, the kids adore having their grandparents there, the budget goes further and it eases the pressure on childcare. My husband also has a partner for a round of golf and I'm not stuck with the children whilst he plays. Win win in my book, but luckily I get on with my mother in law!”
Our tip? Again, discuss budget expectations ahead of your trip, and make the most of the extra company! Grandparents on holiday doesn’t have to equal childcare every day- it can be a chance for you all to spend quality time together too.
Huge thanks to all who helped with this post. Happy holidays everyone!