Showing posts with label grandchildren. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grandchildren. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How Far Should You Live From Your Adult Children?

If you are planning to retire soon, one important question you may have to ask yourself is how far you are willing to live from your adult children.  Do you want to live within a short drive, a long drive, or an air flight away?  There are advantages and disadvantages to each.

It is important that you spend some time thinking about the different concerns you have before choosing a new retirement location.  You don't want to make an expensive mistake, if you can avoid it.

When my husband and I were visiting potential colleges with one of our teenage daughters, the admission's officer said to the parents who were gathered, "Please do not move and forget to tell your children your new address!"  That got a laugh from the crowd.  However, it is apparently not unusual for some parents to send their kids off to college and then move into a retirement community or downsize to a smaller home ... neglecting to give their new address to their children for a few months!

Many people wrestle with the decision of where they want to live after they retire.  Below are some thoughts for you to consider.

Retirement Near Your Adult Children

Whether your kids already live in your hometown or they live across the country, is it your goal to retire someplace near them?  Do you envision seeing them on a regular basis and being involved in your grandchildren's daily lives?  Sometimes this is wonderful ... and sometimes things do not work out the way you envision.  Questions you need to ask are:

Do your children want to see you on a regular basis?
Do your children agree that you should spend a lot of time with your grandchildren?
Will your children start using you as a regular babysitter and/or pet sitter?
Is it possible that, after you move close to them, your children may end up getting a new job and moving somewhere far away?
How will you feel if you move near them and they get transferred somewhere else?
Will your feelings be hurt if they spend the holidays with their in-laws instead of you?
Will your adult children become too dependent on you?
Will you be expected to host all the major family dinners and special events?

Retirement a Long Drive From Your Children

Do you think you will be more comfortable if you are within driving distance of your children, but not close enough that they will regularly depend on you for babysitting and hosting all the holiday meals?   Is that your ideal living arrangement?  If so, here are the questions that you should ask yourself:

How far are you willing to drive to attend a grandchild's birthday or special event?
How often are you willing to make the drive?
Where will you stay during your visits ... in a hotel or with your children?
Will you have a guest area for your children when they visit you?
Will your other friends and relatives be willing to visit you there?
What happens if your adult child is transferred to another region of the country?

Retirement That is an Airplane Flight Away From Your Children

What if you must take an airplane in order to visit your children?  Many of the questions that pertain to a long drive will also pertain to taking a flight.  However, there are a few other issues you may need to consider:

How much will it cost to fly to see your children?
Will you have to take different flights to see different children?
How often will you be able to afford to fly to see them?
Are you willing and able to help pay for your children to visit you?
Where will you stay when you visit your children ... in a hotel or with your children?
Will you have a guest area for your children when they visit you?
Will your other friends and relatives be willing to visit you there?

Our Personal Experience with Retirement Distances

My husband and I have adult daughters who live in all the categories mentioned above.  One lives just 7 miles from us and we see her and her children several times a week.  Yes, we often babysit the kids, pick them up from school, pet sit when they go out of town, and help out financially.  We also host all the holiday dinners.  Those are the advantages or disadvantages (depending on how you look at it) of living near your adult children.

Another one of our daughters lives an 8 hour drive away.  We see her every few months.  Sometimes we drive to see her and sometimes she drives down to see us.  We are much less involved with her children, but we see them more often than we do the grandchildren who live an air flight away.

Two of our daughters and their families live on the other side of the country from us.  We go and see them once a year and they come to see us once a year.  Fortunately, we are able to combine the trips when we visit them, since they only live a couple of hours' drive away from each other.  However, we see much less of those grandchildren and that will probably remain true most of their lives. Using Skype and Facebook helps to make the distance between us seem shorter.

Which decision is right for you?  Only you can decide that.  However, it is important to consider all the possibilities before you make a final decision.

However, before making the decision, you may also want to read my next post on this topic.  It contains comments of both grandparents and young people and the way they feel about having grandparents who live either nearby or far away:

For more information about what you should consider when choosing a retirement community, use the tabs at the top of this page.  They contain links to hundreds of additional articles about where to retire.

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Spending Time With the Grandkids

One of the joys of getting older is being able to spend time with your grandchildren.  I drive two of mine to their elementary and middle schools almost every morning during the school year.  The few minutes it takes us to drive from their home to their schools is one of the highlights of my day.  It is always fun to hear about their activities, the books they are reading, their friends, and the tests they are dreading.  If they have a late start day, we might stop at a Starbucks for a hot chocolate before school.  I love the time we spend together in the mornings.

Another granddaughter goes to a college about a one hour drive from our home.  Occasionally she will ask if she can get away from school and spend a night at our house.  This is another wonderful way to spend unstructured time with one of our grandkids.  We usually have dinner together and watch some fun movies on TV.   On several occasions, she has baked us cookies or made similar treats during her visit.

The key to spending quality time with grandkids is to be prepared with some fun ways to entertain them, while remaining spontaneous and flexible.  You'll want to have some supplies on hand to keep the kids busy, even though you may only use these items occasionally.

Preschool Grandkids

Coloring books
Construction paper
Simple games
Board books
Snack foods

Elementary Age Children

Craft kits for jewelry making or building things
Watercolors and paper
Jigsaw puzzles
Frisbees and balls
Snack foods

High School and Older Children

Video Games and a Game Player
An assortment of DVD's of fun movies (horror films are often a hit)
Snack foods

Ideas for All Ages

You'll notice that snack foods are on all the lists!  In addition, whenever we see a fun movie on TV that we think some of our grandkids might enjoy, we record it on our DVR.  We especially watch for movies or TV shows that they might not have been able to see.  The latest hit with the grandkids has been the TV movie from the SyFy channel called "Sharknado."  It's totally ridiculous.  However, since we live in Southern California, both our elementary age and our college age grandkids have loved watching all the local landmarks get demolished by sharks!

For more ideas, the newspaper for our retirement community frequently prints out a list of upcoming events and local attractions, along with their prices and hours, so we have ideas of fun places where we can take the grandkids.  Even if your local newspaper doesn't do this, you may want to put together your own list of local places that your grandchildren might enjoy.  Look up the basic information and put it on your list so you are prepared to go on the spur of the moment.  Some items you may want to include:

The nearest zoo
Science centers
Amusement parks
Water parks
Restaurants with discounts for kids
Discount or dollar movie theaters
Beaches, parks and playgrounds
Swimming pools

With plenty of activities to entertain the grandkids both in your home and in your community, you will never run out of fun ways to keep them happy and busy ... and wanting to come back!

Whether you are currently retired or planning to retire soon, you may also want to check out the articles listed in the five index articles shown below:

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

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