By Gracie Bonds Staples
It was a quick trip — no more than three days — but no less fun. Traveling with her grandkids and, in this case, a few of their friends, the 58-year-old Woodstock, Ga., grandmother said, is a chance to tune in and rediscover that awesome feeling she and, hopefully, her grandchildren get from just spending time with each other.
“It’s not so much about the destination as it is the joy of the journey and being together,” Dibling-West says.
It’s become a family ritual that she and her grandchildren look forward to each year. But for others, summer traveling with children can prove to be a dreadful experience. Are we there yet? And so the question for Dibling-West: How does she do it?
“Proper planning is key,” she said. “I always assign each of them a task.”
For example, Dibling-West, a spokeswoman for Atlanta’s Goddard School, said that when she took them on a visit to Charleston, S.C., last year, she asked one granddaughter to research the food for which the city is famous. Another was charged with finding out what part the city played in the Civil War. And another was asked to research plants indigenous to the area. Each of them had to share what they learned with their siblings and cousins.
“No matter how old you are, there are always things you can learn along the way,” she said.
They also help plan their itinerary — including where they will stop along the way, and what they want to see most — and keep a journal.
To keep the costs down, they cook. To raise the fun quotient, they sing at the top of their lungs.
“They can sing everything from the Mills Brothers to James Taylor and Taylor Swift,” she says. “Getting to know your grandchildren this way, for the people they are becoming, what makes each of them tick, is awesome.”
Tips for the Journey
To help you enjoy your summer travel time with the grandchildren, Chris Dibling-West offered these additional tips, ideas she shares with the Goddard School:
©2012 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)
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