Summer is here!! If you are like my family, you are planning your summer vacation. We are excited this year because we get to spend time with our grandson who is 11. His parents live out of state and we normally only get to see him a few days out of the year. This year my wife was able to convince our daughter to allow our grandson to spend a month with us here in California.

My wife is busy planning day trips and weekend excursions to keep him (and us) busy. We are excited but also nervous to be spending so much time with him. To make sure it is an enjoyable experience we need to make sure we have everything in order for both him and us.

We have spoken to him on the phone and discussed if he is going to be happy staying with us for so long. We have set up a room for him and asked him to bring a few of his favorite things so he doesn’t get homesick. Once he gets here we plan to discuss the house ground rules. We hope that these things help him, and us, feel more at ease with being away from home.

The other issue we, and other grandparents taking their grandkids, need to consider is having the proper documentation should an emergency occur. You will want to make sure you have a certified copy of their birth certificate. Most children don’t have an ID so having a copy of the birth certificate acts as identification. If your grandchild has a passport having that as identification would work as well. You will also want to have a child consent travel letter notarized and signed by the parents. This letter gives you permission to travel with the child and the ability to consent to medical treatments in case of an emergency. There is a great templet you can use at You will also want to have the parents sign a HIPPA waiver which will allow you to get medical information and speak with doctors and medical staff. Make sure you have the parent’s contact information, including cell and work phones so you can contact them in case of an emergency.

If you are traveling out of the county you will want to do additional research to make sure you have all required documentation to travel with a child that is not your own. You will also want to check with any airlines that you may be traveling on. Each airline has its own rules regarding children and the documents you may require to fly with them.

The most important thing, however, is to remember that this is a valuable time. You may not get to spend this much time with your grandchild again. Make sure you make a memorable experience and don’t be afraid to spoil them a little. Remember you get to give them back.

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