Location! Location! Location!
Thinking of gathering everyone at Grandma's because it's convenient and inexpensive? What you save in traveling costs may add up in stress when you're trying to fit everyone into a house that is in want of air-conditioning and filled with Grandma's prized collection of china dolls (which any toddler is sure to find!).
"It's best if families can gather in a town or city that is neutral, meaning that no member of the family lives there," suggests Laurie Van Horn. "This alleviates stress, believe me! Families should also choose reunion sites that offer activities for people of all ages." Van Horn, Director of Marketing for the YMCA of the Rockies located in Estes Park and Snow Mountain Ranch, Colorado, is in the business of advising people of the best location for their reunions. Her centers will be hosting more than 800 reunions this year alone. They also offer a Family Reunion University™ in November for serious planners who want to know how to organize the perfect event.
Whether it's a ranch in Colorado, cabins in Yellowstone, or even a trip to Disneyland, choose a place that offers something for everyone—including distractions for the rest of the family when you need to escape for a toddler's much-needed afternoon nap or to nurse your baby. Naptime and feeding time are vital to keeping little ones happy while they're being passed around to relatives and adored by older cousins.
Remember also to insist on a separate hotel rooms for your family—even if others are doubling up. Sharing a room with other family members (who may be up later than you are) may prevent you and your children from getting the rest you need.