Some of us--I'm one of them--live far from our grown children. Visits to and with them entail an overnight stay of a day or two or more. Sounds like a grand get-away but it's rife with pitfalls: overstaying a visit, over helping, under helping, invading their privacy. The list goes on.
Susan Adcox, who writes the grandparenting page for About.com, recently featured 10 tips on being a long-distance grandparent visitor. Some of what applies to being a good Grandparent guest, applies to being an inobtrusive parental visitor when we're on our grown child's turf--whether or not small children are involved.
Some of her pointed houseguest hints:
Get pre-approval of dates you plan to visit and length of the visit.
Let them know, before you arrive, if you plan to see friends, attend a business meeting or do something on your own. Not that you need their approval but to be sure your plans don't conflict with plans they may have made for your visit.
Provide your own transportation if possible. As Susan puts it, "Parents with children and careers will appreciate not having to pick you up and chauffeur you around." A benefit for you: If you rent a car, you'll be able to get away--for a coffee, for a drive, for some needed quiet time.In our family, Paterfamilias cherishes a morning run for a cup of coffee at a nearby Starbucks--by himself or, by inivation only, with one grandchild.
Check with your kids about staying in their home. Their apartment or house may be too small or cramped for overnight visitors. If you can afford it, a hotel room may be easier on everyone's nerves.
Be sure to give them some privacy. Find a secluded spot in the house or by take a walk so that you're not privy to everything that's going on in the house or their lives all the time.
You can read all of Susan's 10 tips here.