Author: Becky Danielson, M.Ed.
Does the thought of traveling with your children fill you with joyful anticipation or overwhelming dread? Vacation time with kids can be a bit of both! With spring break looming and travel plans for summer vacations underway, now is the time to start planning.
Really, the wonder on young faces seeing new places, meeting new people, and tasting new foods can be satisfying for parents, if not downright fun. It's an opportunity for social studies, language, geography, math, and reading to jump from the pages into hands-on learning experiences. When we travel, we expose our kids to a whole new world: people, cultures, foods, languages, and more.
But it can also be very stressful. Plan ahead for possible bumps in the road like schedule changes, illness, and inclement weather. But keep in mind even the best-laid plans can go awry.
To prepare for a memorable vacation, get the whole family on board with the travel arrangements. Even little ones can help choose activities. The Internet is a great resource. So are the library and bookstore. While you're there, pick up a few fiction books about that part of the world to whet everyone's appetite for adventure. Smart phone and car navigation devices are fabulous, but use maps to plan and travel with as well. Tuck a few highlighters in to mark the travel routes both in the planning stages and while on the move.
The following travel tips will help for a smooth family vacation.
• Pack non-perishable snacks everyone enjoys. Kids are less crabby if they aren't hungry. (Mom and Dad too!)
• Stow the essentials in your carry-on luggage or an easily accessible bag in the car. (First aid kit, snacks, jackets, hats, camera, phone charger, etc.)
• Include bandages, antibacterial wipes, antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone, Tylenol,
Calamine lotion, cough syrup, Sudafed, Tums, Pepto-Bismol tablets, thermometer,
tweezers, scissors, and sunscreen in the first aid kit.
• Have a few Ziploc plastic bags handy for wet clothing and garbage.
• For the ascent and descent on plane trips, have pacifier ready for the baby and gum or hard candy for older kids and adults.
• Engage the children in conversation and games while traveling. Skip the videos! It's
time to see a new part of the world and talk about it.
• Once you arrive, take time to get the "lay of the land" so everyone feels comfortable.
• Have your camera at the ready!
• If possible, maintain a routine. Try to stick to the regular bedtimes and naptimes. Be
willing to forgo plans if the children are tired or not feeling well.
• Take a journal along to record the daily happenings. Each family member can add to the journal by writing or drawing pictures of the day's highlights.
When you arrive home, put together a photo book either online with downloaded photos
or a scrapbook of the family adventure. Include ticket stubs, pictures, maps, postcards,
and other small souvenirs. The family vacation books are really fun to look back on when children are older.
Enjoy the time you have together as a family! The learning aspect of travel is great. The
togetherness is priceless.
Becky Danielson, M.Ed., two best job descriptions are wife and mom. She is also a licensed Parent & Family Educator and co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting.
EMPOWERED PARENTS: Putting Faith First is her first co-authored book. THE
FIRST CORITHINIANS 13 PARENTING SERIES will be released in May 2014.
Becky and her family live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. www.beckydanielson.com
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