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View Poll Results: How far from your kids and grandkids is it best to be?
Same town 18 37.50%
Same area (e.g. 2-4 hrs) 17 35.42%
Day's drive (4-8 hrs) 7 14.58%
Gotta fly to get there same day 2 4.17%
Other planet 4 8.33%
Voters: 48. You may not vote on this poll

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Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-15-2007, 09:45 AM   #1
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Optimal proximity to grandkids

After a great visit to our Missouri kids, albeit in crappy weather (the big ice storm), we are trying to figure this one out. Neither grandfamily lives in a town we would otherwise consider for our retirement location (one cause of the frigid weather, and the other cause it is a bit too small, remote, and conservative for our taste). But blood is thick.

The tradeoffs we talked about include being so close you become babysitters, possibility of the kids themselves moving for career reasons, how wonderful it would be to see them regularly, how annoying it could be to see them regularly if either or both entitites felt a little too much togetherness.

I'm leaning toward a 7-8 hour driving radius so we could get there in a reasonable day's drive, avoid airports, and still be in a place we choose for personal reasons. My DW wants the same town despite the limits above just to be a daily or at least weekly part of their lives. But I can see both perspectives. We agree that staying put in Tampa would be the choice if a day's drive was not the final decision. Let's ignore the snowbird thing for this poll, since we would do a bit of that wherever we chose - just talking about home base.

What have those of you who have done this think?
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-15-2007, 10:08 AM   #2
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
The tradeoffs we talked about include being so close you become babysitters, possibility of the kids themselves moving for career reasons, how wonderful it would be to see them regularly, how annoying it could be to see them regularly if either or both entitites felt a little too much togetherness.
What have those of you who have done this think?
Speaking from the kids' side of the experience, it doesn't have to be permanent. My parents in law seemed pretty severely traumatized by their move to Hawaii, but five years later they've decided to move back to their ol' stomping grounds in Annapolis. We've been caught totally flatfooted by surprise both times. So you & spouse could move once for closeness and then move again later to whereever you want to be, near or far from family. Let everyone know that you're going to try it, see how everyone likes it, and take it a year at a time.

Again from the kids' perspective, if you're within 30 minutes of each other then I think it's reasonable for the younger generation to hope cajole beg expect you to occasionally swoop down and whisk the grandkids away for an afternoon, evening, or even the weekend... If that's not your intent then it's probably best to have an up-front conversation about what you'd like to do or not do. Communications clarity avoids unrealistic expectations and smoldering resentment from either side.

Another up-front discussion should be whether or not it's appropriate to "just drop in". Spouse and I may have nothing to do all day but we don't plan to have that interrupted by people hanging around hoping for us to entertain them or asking us to meet them somewhere on the spur of the moment. An alerting phone call that morning or the night before can save a lot of frantic scrambling or even embarrassment...
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-15-2007, 10:26 AM   #3
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

DW and I retired last month and moved down to Fla. from NY. I always wanted to live in Fla. and love hot weather. My DD lives in Fla. and has our 2 grand children here. One is 2 1/2 and the other is 5 months. Only seeing the grand kids a few times year was not what we had in mind. Now we get to see them when ever we want. We are about 1/2 hour away, for us it's not too close and not too far.

My DD's and her husband may have to move at some point because of his job but so far things are good.
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-15-2007, 10:58 AM   #4
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

Have you talked to the 'kids' about this?
In other forums I have seen people complaining about their parents moving to be close to them.
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-15-2007, 11:41 AM   #5
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

For our kids, the grandparents have lived at various distances as we have moved. A 4-hour plane ride is a bit too far for us. A 3-hour drive meant seeing folks at only Thanksgiving or Christmas. A 5-hour drive meant never going to see them. We now live about a 2.5 hour plane ride away which means a once a year trip.

My mom lives less than a mile from my sister's family. That arrangement seems just about perfect for them. They don't have to see each other, but the kids can scooter over if they want.
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-15-2007, 12:00 PM   #6
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

My kids live 200, and 300 miles from us.

Another planet would be pretty expensive, but----

My Brother-in-law was up to our place about 6 years ago on a fly-fishing trip. He mentioned to me that his oldest son was looking at a property
a few houses from their home. ( My brother-in-law was retired, and had raised 5 kids).

His son was married with 3 small children.

I mentioned to him, "Don't give up, tell your son about the crappy school district, the polluted water, and the proposed "Nuclear Generator" planned for that area, etc. etc." His wife didn't like that idea, and thought it would be a blessing to have her grandkids so close.

They had both had enough of travel, and wasn't included in their retirement
plans.

Their son and 3 grand-children moved in and since that time, their traveling has went off the charts.

No thanks

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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-15-2007, 12:15 PM   #7
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

No grandkids yet, but i've found the optimal distance to any family is about 60 minutes drive time. Far enough away that you dont see each other every day, close enough to see when you want. Far enough that they will want to call and make sure you're home before dropping by.

Family that keeps a case of good beer in their fridge? Across the street or next door is good.
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-15-2007, 12:18 PM   #8
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-15-2007, 12:19 PM   #9
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

Taking a page from Jarhead's book, my kids live 20 and 400 miles away.

We see the 400 mile away (5-6 hour drive) granddaughter 8-10 times a year, including a couple of 1 week stays with us. Pretty nice.

DW sees the 20 mile away (30 minute drive) three grandsons daily M-F. The close proximity contributed to a "no way I'll allow my grandchildren to go to daycare" syndrome, so she took over daily care duties a couple of years ago. (That was about the time I retired...probably just a coincidence. ) This has severely cramped our ER travel, as we only get to take trips when our daughter/SIL take their vacations. :P

Bottom line, too close may be too close.


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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-15-2007, 01:04 PM   #10
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

I recall my mother saying 400 miles was a good distance from parents/in-laws.

A day's drive, so only one or two visits a year.
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-15-2007, 01:30 PM   #11
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

No single rule of thumb will apply to all families, that's for sure........

We're about a half hour from the kids and grandkids. That seems to be a good distance for the youbet clan. I help out by transporting my developmentally delayed grandson to Easter Seals two days a week and if the drive was much longer, it would be difficult to do that. We tend to get together to watch a sports event, do a project or share a meal every couple of weeks or so and the proximity helps with that too.

But, as mentioned, every family is going to be different. We've had to pull though some tough times together and the family functions pretty well as a team. But we know many other families where it's clearly best to put some significant distance between the parents and the kids/grandkids.

And our situation is different than yours Rich in that our son and DIL choose to live in our neck of the woods as opposed to us choosing to follow them to another area.
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-15-2007, 01:59 PM   #12
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

Lets see, we have 9 grandchildren between two Sons and two Daughters. Two of the families (one Son (3 Grandkids) and one Daughter (2 Grandkids)) are military and move a bit. Since we have had Grandkids these past 20 years we were 10 minutes off and on from both Sons (Northeast Florida) for about 19 of those years (they moved a bit but we did not). We are now living (Central Ohio) close to another Daughter (3 Grandkids) and about 7 hours drive-time from 5 Grandkids (DC Area), and about 17 hours drive-time from one Grandkid (Northeast Florida). Get to see all of the "out of home area" ones at least once a year -- but usually talk to them often on the phone. They range in age from 8 to 21 so they are all getting older and for the next few years we will be in the HS graduation mode then the College graduation mode then the Wedding mode (hopefully, in that order, individually).

We wish they all lived close by, but the odds of that happening really fall when you have 4 kids. Love to listen to them and really enjoy the interaction between parents and the grandkids. Offer no advice, unless asked, and are looking forward to the GGK's (Great Grandkids). If they scatter like their parents did we should be spending a lot of time on the interstates.

BTW our vote was "same area" but conditioned on the above.
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-15-2007, 04:01 PM   #13
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

Recently moved 500 miles from Ohio to Tennessee to be close to our only son, his wife and our first grandchild. Weather is much nicer, more time for golf, motorcycle riding other outdoor activities. Only downside is living in SEC land after the Gators ate the Buckeyes alive last Monday night.
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-15-2007, 04:12 PM   #14
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

I think it depends on the relationship you have with your kids and your desire to spend time with your grandkids. For us, PIL live less than a mile away, however DD spends more time (average 1x a month and the odd weekend here or there) with my parents who live 2.5 hours away.

Being 2.5 hours away, they aren't available for the spur of the moment drop in, nor are they called upon for the sick child care duties when we have to go to work. However, if I am in a pinch, and have at least 1 day notice, I know I can count on them to come get her, come stay with her, meet me half way for the kid swap, etc. On the flip side, from the kid's perspective, I am also not expected to drop in to visit regularly (unlike my sister who lives 1/2 hour away from the parents).

Usually there is the spouse to consider as well...it is one thing to have your own parents in and out of the house, but your spouse may not be as crazy about the idea as you are. 2.5 hours is just about the right distance in my book.
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-15-2007, 06:31 PM   #15
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

I didn't vote in the poll....only because I don't have grandkids.....but my Mom does, so I'll just spout her feelings on the matter....w/o a vote.

She would like to have the Grandkids relatively close by, HOWEVER, she wouldn't necessarily like to have the parents of said GKs that close!!! Certain of my siblings drive her bonkers!!! So having my siblings at a GOOD distance keeps things a LOT less stressful for her (& me). The siblings are both a little over a day's drive away.....which for her is just close enough!!!

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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-15-2007, 08:02 PM   #16
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

We do not have any grandkids. DW likes to have them, if ever, very close so that she can provide free baby-sitting. That's not exactly what I have in mind.
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-15-2007, 08:05 PM   #17
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-17-2007, 02:51 PM   #18
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

Rich,

Trade in your Class B and buy a nice big Class A. You can "live" anywhere you want to in relation to your relations. And without the need for realestate. If they move in a few years you just find a new campground or have your kids put in a RV pad for you. Lots of folks who RV full time do just that.

As far as distance...it does indeed depend on your relationship with your kids. I moved 1500 miles to be with my single kids. I don't seem them all that much but being in the same city makes them seem closer. DW's two grown married kids (and 4 grandkids) also live here so for now we won't be moving anytime soon. But if they were far away we would just get a larger RV and "live" near them for a while and then travel to see the other set...repeat as needed.
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-17-2007, 03:09 PM   #19
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR
Trade in your Class B and buy a nice big Class A.
That option is still on the table for us, though we don't want to be full-timers. The scenario is to have our home here in Florida (or some other location that we enjoy), and spend a few months a year near the kids in a 5th wheel.

It does not replace living in the same town most of the year, but provides mobility, flexibility, etc. A reasonable compromise.
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids
Old 01-17-2007, 04:45 PM   #20
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Re: Optimal proximity to grandkids

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
That option is still on the table for us, though we don't want to be full-timers. The scenario is to have our home here in Florida (or some other location that we enjoy), and spend a few months a year near the kids in a 5th wheel.

It does not replace living in the same town most of the year, but provides mobility, flexibility, etc. A reasonable compromise.
What ever works for you. Fivers have their own good and bad points as do Class As vs Class Cs. You don't have to go full time to appreciate a good medium-sized class A for extended stays with the kids. By the time you get done buying a decent tow vehicle and a good quality 5th wheel you are not that far away from a good used medium sized Class A or even a high end Class C.

We went with a C for many reasons that all fit our intended use. If we ever go full time (unlikely) we would go with a used Class A for the interior space, tank capacities and storage. I know several folks that would not trade their 5th wheel for anything and others that would never tow one again. It all comes down to personal choice which is why there are so many choices.

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