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July 10, 2012

The Grandma Kit: Everything Caregivers Need When Parents Go on Vacation

After two decades of waiting, I’m only a week out from embarking on my dream vacation to Italy. Two glorious weeks in Rome, Sorrrento, Florence, Pisa and Venice with my husband – and totally kid free. While that sounds pretty amazing, I know that two weeks is going to be HARD without my kiddos. Luckily both my amazing mother and my selfless mother-in-law are sharing the load of taking care of the kids while we’re away at their homes. And for that to be successful for everyone, it takes planning and paperwork to make sure the children and our moms are properly prepared with every detail from what foods the kids eat – to  the pediatrician’s number in case an emergency happens (oh, please I hope that doesn’t happen...)


Each of the grandmas got a special kit with everything I could think of that they needed in addition to clothes, toys, games and of course,  bottles and formula. With a little help of Google, I found many free downloadables that I could use to fill out and print. 

The grandma kit includes:
Temporary Guardianship:           
Allows my parents and my husband’s parents to have temporary guardianship of my kids in our absence. (There’s both a start and an end time on this.)

This form allows the listed person to order medical services if necessary. For instance, if you child broke their arm, this would be the form needed to ensure grandma could take him to the emergency room and take care of any needed medical services in your absence. 
Provides basics like social security numbers, insurance info, allergies, prescriptions, and medical phone numbers like their pediatrician.

Kids Info Sheet:                               
Gives the basics on your kiddo like favorite foods, routines, etc.

Copy of Itinerary:           
While I’m providing a link to a helpful template, I just use my own Excel worksheet. This is just a spreadsheet covering my daily activities which is useful if they needed to reach us or explain to the kids what we are doing.

Email & Skype Info:       
Since we were traveling overseas, using our phones was not in the plan. So through the magic of Ipad, we had planned to Skype our families periodically to see them and to checkin. This way we didn’t have to pay for any international fees. Another useful tip we’d learn is that if Skype wasn’t working out for us, you can always buy a Pay and Go Mobile Phone for $30 and use that in place of our mobile phones without incurring roaming charges on our normal phone rates.

This was a last-minute find and was the icing on the cake for my “grandma kit.” Grandmas never run out of hugs or cookies – but now there’s no way they’ll even run out of stories, nursery rhymes, games, crafts and even recipe ideas! The Simple Joys of Grandparenting by Abigail R. Gehring created a great collection of a little bit of everything that makes grandmas great like mac n cheese, homemade hot chocolate with marshmallows, sock puppets and even tea parties!

Growing up, trips to my grandma meant the world to me (and still do), so just reading this book gave me the warm and fuzzies just remembering the fun I used to have. Beautifully illustrated, it’s a perfect gift for new grandparents as well as like this when you might be traveling or they have the kids for an extended period of time.

While I have no tip or downloadable about how not to feel guilty or keep from missing your kiddos while you are away, hopefully this kit can make the experience a little more bearable for everyone!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Simple Joys of Grandparenting for purposes of this review, however, the views expressed here are all my own.  


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