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Entertaining an adopted child.(93 Posts)
Can anyone give me any advice.
It's a milestone birthday for my Dad next year. He wants to have a day trip to London. Our adopted son will have only been home with us for 5 months.
Dad wants to go to Museums and galleries etc and have a nice lunch.
How can I keep a 3 year old entertained while we are traipsing round places he won't be remotely interested in?
Also, I have no idea what little ones attention span etc will be like as we haven't bought him home yet. Feel stressed and neevous. He is our first child.
congratulations on your future child! Do you have to commit to a plan now? You definitely won't want (or be able) to be the one organising this once you're busy settling into your new family life, so for now I would just nod and smile and go along with the plans.
Nearer the time, you'll know whether a) you need to do a quiet tea and cake just with your dad separately, b) you feel confident joining the activity taking a parent-facing buggy so you can take DS off for a walk when needed, or c) some other plan Things for your bag to help survive a grown up day: crayons, bubbles, stickers, snacks...and a tablet if you are ok with that (I am, esp in these circs!)
Magickeystoasda.... My Dad has made the plans. Tower Bridge, Tower Of London, lunch and National Gallery.
Don't want our little chap to get bored. A tablet is a great idea. Will keep him occupied. xx
Thats not a fun day for any child adopted or otherwise. Its a grown up trip. I assume he will want lunch somewhere 'nice' as in somewhere a toddler dropping chips on the floor won't be welcome?
To be honest I'd tell him (very nicely of course) thatvits just not practical for such a young child, you don't want to ruin his day with a crying overtired toddler so you will sadly need to opt out And have an invite to a special grandad birthday party at home with you ready.
Congratulations on the arrival of your new son !
Thank you Ted. Unfortunately my Dad lives abroad so this will be the only time we see him next year.
Am hoping we can make it work somehow.
P.S. I completely agree with you. Just want to make the most of a chance to see family who I don't normally get to see.
Keep it flexible for now, at least inside your head... I appreciate your dad lives abroad, but this is when the needs of the (newly placed, vulnerable) child completely trump the needs of the adult. You may find its easier for people to understand that once your child's home, as it can be difficult for some people to fully grasp the impact while things are hypothetical.
At best, I'd aim to join them for lunch, then go to the park (St James?) while they do gallery, and meet up again for coffee and cake back at the gallery? Under pressure your three yo is going to be emotionally at a 1 yo level, so build in as much cuddle and nurture time as you can (cuddles on the journey, a blanket for peekaboo games, etc)
Is he not coming for more than one day ? Would he not consider adding an extra day to his trip so he can spend some time with his new grandchild?
The other thing to consider is if this is the best way to introduce your child to at least one new person and possibly others.
At the moment you have no idea how things will be going with your son, five months is still early days.
One thing you do have to get to grips with as an adoptive parent is just saying no, this is the right thing for my child. Personally I wouldn't do it, but if you go I think you should be prepared to abandon ship if it gets too much. Or alternatively do half the day, join them at lunch, or leave after lunch.
Thank you. I completely get it and agree with you. Unfortunately, Dad is from a strict generation and doesn't see it like we do.
The tips you have given are great. Really appreciate your input. 😊
We will find ways to keep little man happy. He sleeps well so hopefully will Nap on the way home at least.
Hi Ted. Great advice, thank you. Dad will be here for a week. This is a day trip he wants to do. We will introduce them before the trip.
We will judge it nearer the time and not go if we feel it is too much. We won't meet our son until the new year so we don't have enough information about him.
Hello OP, I completely agree with PP. You don’t know your child yet. Once you do, you’ll find it far, far easier to do what is right for him instead of trying to do what other people think you should.
If everything is going well you might be able to do bits of this but bill it to child differently - when my boy was three we’d have called this a train ride to see a castle. (And I wouldn’t have gone near the Nat Gallery.)
But he might be a kid that’s really happy in his pushchair and you’ll be able to do more. (Mine was not.)
But you won’t know til you know. Tell your dad you’ll join in with what you can but you don’t know how life will be.
Thanks TLDR. I do feel very under pressure.
I have tried to say it is all too much and he told me I forget he is an experienced parent.
hmm, I think you may need to start the way you mean to go on. If its easier write him a to explain. Yes he may be an experienced parent but I assume he has not parented a scared traumatised toddler.
Was he involved at all in the adoption process, would he be amenable to a book aimed at grandparents of adopted children. Are other relatives more understanding who can support you.
Unfortunately sometimes as adoptive parents we do have to be very firm with people and stand our ground. I've been lucky with family but have lost my oldest friend of over 40 years standing.
That's a grewt suggestion. Thank you. A book explaining it all may help.
No, he hasn't been part of it other than emails to keep him up to date with how we are getting on.
He is quite set in his ways and has a different view on rearing children than my husband and I.
We are very child centered where his is a bit more children should be seen and not heard. Tricky.
He is a lovely Dad and means well but difficult to bring him to our way of thinking.
There is a book called Related by Adoption, A handbook for grandparents and other relatives
Fantastic Ted. Thank you. I'll look up a copy.
How many adults are there? Can you divide and conquer for parts of the day? Could one of you go with Dad to the nice lunch whilst the other does something more child friendly ? Then meet up for the gallery etc? Then find the nearest park for a run around.
Kids of this age love anything a bit different. They might not admire the wonderful art but will like all the people and the big corridors and going in the lift! Relax and enjoy the day but be flexible as it unfolds. I've travelled the world with my kids (including my adopted little one). We are just back from India but we have also done days like you have described. I'm slightly horrified by the Tablet idea, let your new little one wonder in the world around them and see and hear all the new sites and sounds. Its not always easy but it can be done. With the excitement of adopting a LO I really wouldn't waste the time worrying about a day out in 5 or 6 months time. Congratulations and good luck, whatever you decide.
Thank you. I completely respect your views on tablets. I just thought for a short part of the day while in a gallery,.it may be a good back up plan if he is bored. I can put together a little bag of puzzles and books etc for on the train. I just really don't want him to spend the day bored and fed up.
As a general rule he won't be allowed to spend much time on technology as I want him to enjoy normal child's play. I'm not adverse to him watching some nursery rhyme videos for entertainment on the odd occasion though.
mumofblueeyes - I think its great to visit these places with children
( my son has been to most of the London musuems, is rather partial to Welsh castles and we have camel trekked in the Sahara) if you are going to do the children's trails, sticker charts and craft workshops. That doesnt sound like the sort of day grandad wants. This isnt a family day out, its an adults big birthday.
As a pp suggested can't you split up for part of the day? Your dh can bring your son to fun places while you do grown up stuff with your dad?
Great suggestion Deadringer, as my husband will also be with me.
He can take little one away for some quiet time if needed.
With my dc at that age I’d probably leave them at home for the day with my husband and have a day with my dad
Have been to both the Tower and the National Gallery recently but not on the same day. We spent a full day at the Tower - you can't just whizz round- and it was heaving with people! And honestly, it is the last place I would take a 3 year old, plus you won't be able to get into all areas with a buggy. As others have said, it will still be early stages with your son and his needs must come first.
Hopefully your dad will realise that his plans are not really appropriate for a small child and will understand if you only join him for parts of the day. I am an adoptive grandparent and am aware that my grandchild has specific needs. I know now about different ways of parenting adopted children, because my daughter keeos me well informed! Talk to your dad. But at the end of the day, your child comes first. Good luck x
Exciting times ahead for you!
I’m an adoptive mum - four kids! Art galleries can be child friendly! I take my gang to museums and art galleries all the time, and early in placement too.
Keep your expectations of their behaviour very low, is my first tip ( brief new grandad that little one has not experienced this setting before, might feel anxious, scared etc)
If little one gets upset, one parent needs to take him outside for a kick around straight away. I wouldn’t try appeasing or resolving in the art gallery / museum etc in front of others as you’ll all feel under pressure to conform, and behaviour is likely to escalate quickly at that age. Make no fuss of it and just carry him out cheerfully without grandad really noticing.
One parent to stay with little one all the time, you can take it in turns, so little one is never left with aunt or grandad etc on his own ( he might look happy to be left with extended relative, but inside he might not be and he’s likely to panic when you return and then behaviour is likely to dip).
I don’t know much about the places you’re intending to visit but galleries and museums in the Uk today nearly always have children’s trails and family activities on. I’ve looked up the National Gallery just now and indeed they do have some family activities. Art trails usually last about 30minutes with my kids, but if there’s a sticker reward they love them. Grandparents, while they usually want to consider the art, from my experience, usually get on board with these sort of trails in the end. Parent, grandad and child can all work together. If grandad gives child a bit of praise for spotting something, that is likely to go down well.
As for lunch, child is very unlikely to sit still in a posh restaurant though usually these big galleries have two choices of eateries, posh serene eating and more of a cafe style place. Choose the cafe ( if grandad doesn’t mind) and bring food for your child that he normally eats. Cafes don’t mind children having their own food as long as parents spend money on their own food.
I took my kids to the V and A when very young- it was okay... they did try to run through the ceramics gallery but we scooped them up quick enough!
Tate Modern is great for kids, lots of interactive areas.
I’m not in London, but art galleries very family friendly near me. I like sessions that you can book. I took my daughter to do print making at the weekend in our local gallery, she loved it.
Tower of London...I’m not sure, not been their with kids but I expect they have a dress up room and you can tell your new son stories about the ravens etc!
My top tip for you as a new parent, buy yourself National Trust membership for Christmas. We go to a national trust site every weekend - they’re super family friendly, loads to do, outdoors and in, and the cafes are well priced and informal.
Enjoy introducing your new son to grandad. Hopefully as the day goes on old school grandad will start seeing the magic in daytripping a family friendly way! Good luck!
Also, you won’t need a buggy if he’s three. Just take it in turns to carry him when he doesn’t walk ( which will probably be a lot) . We have a back pack carrying thing to bring our three year old around in, but arm carrying is just as good. And boys of that age usually adore trips on buses, on any form of public transport in fact. A ride on a red open top bus round London to get to the Tower of London- wow! dream come true for my three year old adopted son.
There’s a ceebebies ‘My Story’ episode about the Tower of London- you could show him that beforehand.
If you have time, the National history museum to see the dinosaurs is worth a shout. My adopted daughter loved this at three.
It’ll be an exhausting trip for little one so expect them to nap at some point even if they’ve technically dropped their midday nap.
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