I love visiting family, but I've done a lot of thinking and I now know why my little ones are like mice on speed once we arrive at our destination.
When families travel the children sleep but the parents don't. We don't mean to let them sleep but we relish the quiet. I mean, how often does it happen that the kids are asleep and you are awake with enough energy to do more than just grunt and sit on the sofa with the remote slipping out of your hand?
Unfortunately, at the final destination the parents are tired and the kids are wired.
And now parents must go on double-duty making sure little fingers don't poke into things they shouldn't or shatter items that are just too difficult to resist. Still, little ones slip under the radar from time to time and nothing puts a damper on a visit than little ones who are quicker than the adults present.
So I made up a list from my own experiences to help tired parents and bewildered grandparents who aren't used to having little ones wreck the place… I mean, visit. I hope these tips help.
1) Frequently poke the children when traveling to encourage them to stay awake. Invest in a spray bottle and use it often.
2) Offer ample drinks when traveling. You may have to make more stops, but everybody stays awake. You'll have to weigh the pros and cons of caffeine.
3) Duct tape oven mitts to children under the age of three. This prevents them from picking up miniature collectibles. It also keeps fingerprints off sliding glass doors…and really discourages nose picking.
4) Bring a stake and leash for wandering toddlers. Stake the child in the backyard. She can run and play as she pleases, without slipping out the front door and down the street to play with the nice puppy in a stranger's garage.
5) Wrap the clumsiest children in bubble wrap as a preventative measure for when they forget to walk and run through the house and then collide with inanimate objects.
6) Bring a playpen for the youngest to coral them when they just won't leave the untouchables alone. Use the above stake and leash for older children that do not stay out of rooms that are off limits.
7) Bring a whistle (or an air horn) to get the attention of children feigning ignorance and deafness due to the special occasion of visiting.
8) Bring an IV. This is the best way to prevent unnecessary spills.
9) Bring videos the children have not yet seen. Make that television babysitter work for you!
10) Bring plenty of aspirin because you'll need it.