When I was growing up in the Midwest we did not travel. We were middle class poor and my parents had no imagination for taking us really anywhere except to see our grandparents in Pennsylvania. Every summer pack up a car to small for a family of five with two smokers up front and three kids beating the crap out of each other in the back. To say the least not memories I ever want to remember. If fact now that I have kids I decided things were going to be much different.
When my kids were younger our vacations were usually beach destinations and thank goodness we were able to afford such travel. But I also learned that spending one on one with each of my daughters is pretty important too. So over the last couple of years I have been doing short one on one trips with them. California gives you sooooo many options from camping, hiking, beaches, desert etc.. It’s incredible how they open up to you when there is no one else or a cell phone around. We have actually conversations, inside jokes, story telling and more. To have a successful trip with one of your kiddo’s here are a couple of tips that I suggest:
1.) Let them pick a place they want to go (within whatever boundaries you set). When they decide they are then engaged. I make them learn about where we are going and what they want to do once at our destination. Just dragging them someplace that is cool does not always work and their inclusion seems to make it work.
2.) Be flexible when traveling. We have a saying when traveling as a family…. “Just Roll With It”. Basically killing yourself to get somewhere becomes more stressful then fun. But when you take your time, maybe a detour or two, things tend to be more relaxed and fun.
3.) When going on a trip they have to try new things. For example, my daughter wanted to go to Paris. But she also deals with anxiety from everything from flying to eating unknown foods. For me to make this trip happen she had to promise she was going to try new things and man did she ever come through! We tried new foods, rode scooters to get around traffic, took impromptu walks and even though we toured some awesome places some of our best stories had nothing to do with the Louvre or Eiffel tower. Not that they weren’t incredible!!
4.) Pack right or you will suffer. No matter where you are going make sure to pack right. I make my girls pack their own bags but the lesson here is check them before leaving. Cannot tell you how only one pair of underwear gets packed with to many socks and no toothbrush. Literally I have said more then once “what were you thinking?” Have them pack but check it BEFORE leaving.
5.) Last but not least is to have fun. Right, like you need to be reminded about this but its crazy how you can get caught up in all the hassles of traveling and literally forget to have fun. Take a deep breath, stop checking flights/Eta’s whatever on your phone, in fact put the phone down and just have fun!
Ok…wish me luck as I am leaving to take my youngest to New York City for the first time tomorrow morning. She has a list of things to see and do and I am looking forward to every minute of it!