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Help with Family Cruise with 3 Year Old and (sort of) paranoid mom


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We are planning a summer 2019 family cruise as a high school graduation gift for our older granddaughter. Granddaughter #2 will be three at the time (yes, we waited a long time between grandchildren). So here's why I need help - my DIL, who is a wonderful mom, worries about everything. (Her first question about this cruise was whether it would be during hurricane season.)

 

As a treat, and to give all of us more flexibility in dealing with a toddler (more room, a balcony to relax on while she sleeps), I have booked all balconies. I'm pretty sure DIL's first reaction will be that the three year old - who IS quite the climber - will fall over the balcony rail. I know how high the balcony rails are, and that no child has EVER fallen over, but can y'all help me prepare for her objections? Honestly, this is a woman that is worried sick that the baby will be grabbed by a stranger at the professional baseball game we're going to for our family vacation this summer.

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We are planning a summer 2019 family cruise as a high school graduation gift for our older granddaughter. Granddaughter #2 will be three at the time (yes, we waited a long time between grandchildren). So here's why I need help - my DIL, who is a wonderful mom, worries about everything. (Her first question about this cruise was whether it would be during hurricane season.)

 

 

 

As a treat, and to give all of us more flexibility in dealing with a toddler (more room, a balcony to relax on while she sleeps), I have booked all balconies. I'm pretty sure DIL's first reaction will be that the three year old - who IS quite the climber - will fall over the balcony rail. I know how high the balcony rails are, and that no child has EVER fallen over, but can y'all help me prepare for her objections? Honestly, this is a woman that is worried sick that the baby will be grabbed by a stranger at the professional baseball game we're going to for our family vacation this summer.

 

 

 

I wish I could agree that she’s over cautious but I felt the same way when my kids were younger. I will say that my dad treated our family to a cruise when my triplets were 4 years old. He also booked a balcony for us. I was nervous taking three toddlers on a cruise, but it worked out wonderfully! I can attest that the balcony door was hard for me to open, so a toddler would find it extremely hard to open. We had rules in place when out on the balcony, no climbing on the chair or tables! My children were constantly supervised! I think if she does her research she will feel more comfortable. There are a lot of videos on YouTube that provide room tours, this helped me show the kids and talk about safety. Have fun!

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My 24 month old was able to open the balcony door on our Princess Panama Canal cruise. A child that age cannot fall off the balcony just standing on the balcony - the railing is higher than his head. The child would need to climb on top of a chair or a table first. The rule with small children for our family is that the kids cannot be on the balcony without a parent (or grandparent in your case) present, and they can't play on the furniture out there. They can sit on a chair, but no climbing all over the balcony furniture. We could always hear our kid opening a door (he could open both the balcony and cabin door at 2) and told him not to do that after the first time it happened and he stopped. Other parents have brought either alarms or bells for the doors on cruises. My kids have loved all their cruises (and taken a bunch at age 3 and 4 so I hope she goes). Best of luck to you.

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Tell her how small the cabins are...and that a grownup will NEVER be more than 2 steps from anywhere in the cabin! Tell her to bring a bell and tape it to the balcony door if she's that fearful....if anyone opens the door, the bell will make a noise!

 

Children really don't care about a balcony at all.

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Off topic....since you are traveling with grandchildren with absent parents plz see my thread about traveling with children and proper docs on this page.

 

It probably wasn't clear from my original post - we are all going, not just the grandparents. I am brave, but not brave enough to travel with a 3-year-old without her parents!

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Well, first of all, my advice is mom could use 1) a second baby so she can't fixate on the first ;p and 2) perhaps visit to a doctor or therapist - that level of anxiety is NOT something someone should have to live with.

 

Second, I would say that a 3 year old is by no means a toddler. At that age, most kids are in some form of pre-school to socialize them and get them adjusted to be away from the parents. I didn't catch what ship you are sailing on but all the major lines have programs for kids that age. You should do yourselves and the child a favor and send them to camp at least at some point during the day. It is more space for them to run around in, and loaded with age appropriate toys - which there will be a shortage of everywhere else. My youngest son started at 2 in Camp Carnival and loved every minute.

 

 

The balcony is a plus IMHO, not a detriment. A 3 year will likely still need a late afternoon nap to make it through the evening and it is a great place for mom or dad to be during naps or if the child goes to bed early. You can get a door alarm if the child is one of those Houdini-types. But even at 2, though my DS was in an inside across the hall with his grandmother for sleeping purposes, he did come over to our room and enjoy the balcony. Pre-schoolers are not dumb, understand language perfectly, and I had zero issue communicating to my child that if he even so much as thought about climbing or pulling up on the balcony railing that he would never take a cruise with us again. 99% of kids seem to have a natural fear of heights thing and if the child is well behaved, I just don't see it being an issue.

 

But honestly - Mom has to convince HERSELF it is safe. My "niece" has the same paranoia with her 2 year old and no one has yet been able to convince her that 6 adults are more than capable of caring for one 3 year old on a cruise.:')

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Well, first of all, my advice is mom could use 1) a second baby so she can't fixate on the first ;p and 2) perhaps visit to a doctor or therapist - that level of anxiety is NOT something someone should have to live with.

 

Second, I would say that a 3 year old is by no means a toddler. At that age, most kids are in some form of pre-school to socialize them and get them adjusted to be away from the parents. I didn't catch what ship you are sailing on but all the major lines have programs for kids that age. You should do yourselves and the child a favor and send them to camp at least at some point during the day. It is more space for them to run around in, and loaded with age appropriate toys - which there will be a shortage of everywhere else. My youngest son started at 2 in Camp Carnival and loved every minute.

 

 

The balcony is a plus IMHO, not a detriment. A 3 year will likely still need a late afternoon nap to make it through the evening and it is a great place for mom or dad to be during naps or if the child goes to bed early. You can get a door alarm if the child is one of those Houdini-types. But even at 2, though my DS was in an inside across the hall with his grandmother for sleeping purposes, he did come over to our room and enjoy the balcony. Pre-schoolers are not dumb, understand language perfectly, and I had zero issue communicating to my child that if he even so much as thought about climbing or pulling up on the balcony railing that he would never take a cruise with us again. 99% of kids seem to have a natural fear of heights thing and if the child is well behaved, I just don't see it being an issue.

 

But honestly - Mom has to convince HERSELF it is safe. My "niece" has the same paranoia with her 2 year old and no one has yet been able to convince her that 6 adults are more than capable of caring for one 3 year old on a cruise.:')

 

I agree with all of this (except the suggestion of a second kid - not great for a mom with fertility issues or therapy - really?). The advantages of a balcony were why I booked it in the first place. My next challenge - convincing them to at least consider the kid's club so that all of us can have a afternoon or evening (or two) to enjoy with our older granddaughter where she, rather than the baby, is the focus of attention.

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The kids club will probably have an open house the first night. The mom can go with her child, meet the counselors, and see how the 3 year old feels about it (my kids loved the kids club at that age, but some kids are a little more shy.) Your grandchild might ask to go back to the kids club on her own - my kids always wanted to go there immediately after we'd get back on the ship. They'll also probably have a list of daily activities, and your grandchild can pick what he or she would like to do at the kids club.

 

I'm not sure if your older granddaughter is a sibling of the 3 year old. I completely understand why you'd want the little one in day care, but honestly, if the two kids are in the same age groups (or if the age groups are combined) the 3 year old will be more likely to want to go if the older sibling or cousin is with him or her.

 

When my kids were 3, if I was on a cruise line that didn't have phones or pagers for the parents when you drop young children or children with disabilities off, I'd just call after 20 minutes to see if my child was happy (this is better than showing up, because once your kid sees you they're going to want to leave with you. Cunard lets parents stay in the kids clubs, but most lines won't allow that.

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The kids club will probably have an open house the first night. The mom can go with her child, meet the counselors, and see how the 3 year old feels about it (my kids loved the kids club at that age, but some kids are a little more shy.) Your grandchild might ask to go back to the kids club on her own - my kids always wanted to go there immediately after we'd get back on the ship. They'll also probably have a list of daily activities, and your grandchild can pick what he or she would like to do at the kids club.

 

I'm not sure if your older granddaughter is a sibling of the 3 year old. I completely understand why you'd want the little one in day care, but honestly, if the two kids are in the same age groups (or if the age groups are combined) the 3 year old will be more likely to want to go if the older sibling or cousin is with him or her.

 

When my kids were 3, if I was on a cruise line that didn't have phones or pagers for the parents when you drop young children or children with disabilities off, I'd just call after 20 minutes to see if my child was happy (this is better than showing up, because once your kid sees you they're going to want to leave with you. Cunard lets parents stay in the kids clubs, but most lines won't allow that.

 

Great advice, but the older child is her first cousin and we will be celebrating her high school graduation on the cruise (she will be 18!), so pretty sure they won't be in camp together. I will encourage them to go the first night and see how she feels about it.

'

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I agree with all of this (except the suggestion of a second kid - not great for a mom with fertility issues or therapy - really?). The advantages of a balcony were why I booked it in the first place. My next challenge - convincing them to at least consider the kid's club so that all of us can have a afternoon or evening (or two) to enjoy with our older granddaughter where she, rather than the baby, is the focus of attention.

 

You did see this face, right....;p It was said tongue and cheek.

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When a statement is inappropriate, the emoticon makes no difference.

 

This is a forum of open discussion. When I playfully suggest another child would changes mom's attitude (the reality is it WILL - but yes, not all people are able to have a second child but that is not my place to determine) there is nothing inappropriate - IT'S CALLED HUMOR! What is inappropriate is trying to censor others - that is for the moderators.

 

As to the OP, I would love an update as to how this turned out. My BFF is going through the same thing with her daughter - who has an only child with no intention of having another - and we really want to get the family on a vaction. I would love to know if you found any magic words of consolation.

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As to the OP, I would love an update as to how this turned out. My BFF is going through the same thing with her daughter - who has an only child with no intention of having another - and we really want to get the family on a vaction. I would love to know if you found any magic words of consolation.

 

The cruise is not until summer of 2018, so I won't know for a while. Although they know the cruise is booked, I haven't mentioned the balcony thing yet....... We'll see how it goes.

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Can I throw a curveball here... it’s very kind of you to pay for the whole family’s cruise, it’s very generous. Perhaps it should be up to your son and DIL as to what room type they are most comfortable with? Surely everyone being content and excited for the trip rather than your DIL and perhaps son feeling anxious or worried, would make for a more successful trip. In an ideal world it would be great if everyone was relaxed and laid back and had the same comfort levels with different scenarios as others but it’s not how the world works and trying to change that may just cause tension and/or stress all round

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Can I throw a curveball here... it’s very kind of you to pay for the whole family’s cruise, it’s very generous. Perhaps it should be up to your son and DIL as to what room type they are most comfortable with? Surely everyone being content and excited for the trip rather than your DIL and perhaps son feeling anxious or worried, would make for a more successful trip. In an ideal world it would be great if everyone was relaxed and laid back and had the same comfort levels with different scenarios as others but it’s not how the world works and trying to change that may just cause tension and/or stress all round

 

Agreed. The toddler could perhaps nap in someone’s balcony cabin if it’s the only way to be together.

 

I don’t care for balconies. With or without my child along. I even said no thank you when our in-laws offered to upgrade us to one, their treat. It’s not automatically neurotic.

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I have small kids who have always been climbers. We have had balconies with them. Yes the fear is real. Anxiety is no fun. I’d suggest if she is really worried ask to have the furniture removed. That should help her fears. Also I’ve found Pharma Gaba ( I buy it on Amazon) to be more effective than my prescription meds for anxiety. She might want to look into it.

 

My little kids are now 9,7,4 and we have a balcony again in a few weeks. I still worry. [emoji51]

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have an anxiety disorder, I took my tall, active 2.5 yr old on a cruise with a balcony. We’re going on another in a few weeks.

 

In addition to not letting her go out there on her own and enjoying the high slide bolt on the balcony door, I took tape and taped the door shut at night. I like the bell idea too.

 

It turned out to be a non issue for us. As adventurous as she is, she didn’t want to go on the balcony alone, and was much more interested in (and dangerous on) the dance floors.

 

Mom is going to be nervous. Let her do some reasonable, or harmless unreasonable, things to feel better about that. Then enjoy the vacation.

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We are planning a summer 2019 family cruise as a high school graduation gift for our older granddaughter. Granddaughter #2 will be three at the time (yes, we waited a long time between grandchildren). So here's why I need help - my DIL, who is a wonderful mom, worries about everything. (Her first question about this cruise was whether it would be during hurricane season.)

 

As a treat, and to give all of us more flexibility in dealing with a toddler (more room, a balcony to relax on while she sleeps), I have booked all balconies. I'm pretty sure DIL's first reaction will be that the three year old - who IS quite the climber - will fall over the balcony rail. I know how high the balcony rails are, and that no child has EVER fallen over, but can y'all help me prepare for her objections? Honestly, this is a woman that is worried sick that the baby will be grabbed by a stranger at the professional baseball game we're going to for our family vacation this summer.

 

So, I am totally the same way as your daughter in law. I completely understand that most of my fears are crazy and irrational. My husband and I took our sons 3yrs and almost 2 last September, we had a balcony room. It was nice to be able to have a place to enjoy the out doors while the kids were napping or later in the evening when they were in bed. the kids did not spend much time out there and I was not really worried about them opening the door. Chances are if she is worried, the child will be watched like a hawk and unlikely get near danger. I will admit I had to have my boys stop looking through the glass railings in the atrium because it was making me anxious. the truth is that she will worry until they are on board and can see how everything really feels. That kind of anxiety is awful to go through. It sounds like she is still going on the cruise and going to the baseball game. To me that shows she is worried about these things but is not letting it stop her or her family from living life.

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As a mom of 3, I feel that the risk is real. My kids, although older, are not allowed out on the balconies by themselves. They are not climbers by nature, but they are kids, so they horse around. What if, in their horsing around, someone climbs a table or chair the way they might climb on the couch at home. I would certainly reassure DIL that with appropriate supervision, 3yo will be safe, but I would also consider allowing her to choose an OV or inside room if that helps.

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We make rules and work on them before the cruise. Kids learn our room number, and know they can only go on balcony accompanied. We stacked the two chairs an put the table upside down on it. Kids had to sit on the floor, with a towel if it's dirty. I am anxious with two kids, however I want them to have experiences. My kids understand this is what must be done to enjoy the balcony.

 

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Why not change their cabin to an inside or outside?

 

Is a balcony worth all that anxiety?

 

The idea is that the baby can nap/go down for the night and one set of adults can sit on the balcony while she's sleeping. Also, this is a special trip for our family and we want all three cabins to be nice and roomy (especially the one with three people).

 

Please understand, I have not discussed this with my DIL - she's not upset at the moment - I just want to be prepared if she does have concerns.

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