Wrong way to ask to come for a visit: A grandma leaves a voice mail or sends an email saying, “Dad and I want to come to Ft. Lauderdale to your house August 12 through 24, right after we visit the Callahans in Orlando which we’ve already planned. Let us know right away if those dates will work. We need to book flights in the next few hours to get a good rate!”
Better way: The message is “Dad and I were hoping to come and visit you sometime in the late summer or early fall. Would that work with your calendar? Let us know sometime if a fall visit from us would be good.”
My husband and I never just announce when we’ll be visiting our son and his family. Rather, we always give a range of possible travel days. We know their household calendar is busier than ours!
Other tips to make sure we’ll be welcome when we ask to visit:
- We don’t ask for an answer on the spot when we bring up the idea. To give the parents time to think over what’ll work best, we use email or texting to send out “feelers” about when would be a good time for our next visit.
- Smart grandparents include both parents in the “conversation” from the start, by copying everyone on emails and text messages. (That is, unless your son or daughter has asked you not to.)
- We avoid any misunderstandings by booking flights only when we have a definite yes. Even then, we confirm it, for example, on a text saying: “It seems like from our discussions us arriving on February 19 and leaving on February 28 will work out for all of us. Should we go ahead and book our flights?”
- I’ve learned this one from my friends: be careful about asking to visit on holidays, including birthdays. Don’t assume a visit on a special occasion is welcome. Find out first if they have plans. Remember there is the “other” set of grandparents who might want to be there. Would having all the grandparents there be too much? Holidays are times when feelings can be easily hurt so it’s better to be a peacemaker and never a trouble-maker.
Happily, our son and daughter-in-law usually ask us while we’re visiting at their house when are we available to come back again. As you can imagine, that tickles me no end. But even with such a gloriously kind invitation, we make sure the next visit happens at a time good for them.
Wondering how to make your visit even better? Check out my post on “My Top Goal.”