Blog: Traveling With Kids
The more the merrier
The thought of traveling with your defiant 4 year old strikes terror into your heart. Why on earth would you consider vacationing with another family? Surely it multiplies the hurdles to having a smooth and happy vacation.
One adult on parent duty. This kids having a blast on some boulders near the campsite.
In our experience, you actually get more downtime on vacation if your children have friends to play with. They will magically amuse themselves for hours building sand villages, moats, playing out stories, and whatever else it is that kids do when they're playing happily together. And often one (adventurous) adult or two can amuse the whole kid clan allowing the other adults to kick back and enjoy their vacation.
Of course you need to plan ahead with your friends or extended family so you all end up in the same place at the same time for your vacation. Start a few months in advance as there will be quite a number of things to organize. First, decide on the style of vacation you want to take - camping, cruise, etc. Invite your friends or family members that you think would enjoy that sort of trip because not everyone, strange as it may seem, loves camping out in the middle of the desert.
The children playing with a kid camp cooking set and learning yet more about sharing! ;-)
Now you know who you're going to invite, go ahead and invite them as you will have to coordinate dates.
Choose families with kids that will by and large be compatible with your children. We've found that having children of about the same age works best, although if you have a "younger-kid" friendly teenager, they'll often be able to babysit, sometimes without even realizing it.
There will likely be some disputes between the children. Some of them will be resolved between the kids. If you are planning a trip that is longer than a weekend, it is wise to plan some down time for the kids so that they can enjoy just being themselves again. We all need various amounts of down time and kids are no exception - especially if you are housed in the same place. Younger kids especially have not learned the skill of reading the signs of a frazzled friend who just needs some time to chill out. This can sometimes be achieved en mass at the regular "quiet time" part of the day. Set each child up in a different part of the accommodations with a favorite quiet activity, or let them take a nap. If you've been out adventuring, the kids will be tired and, even after giving up her naps at 2 1/2, Naomi will take a nap now at 4 1/2 if she'd been out playing or walking all morning.
Meal times can be chaotic with two families and young children to cater too. Try giving the children their meals a little earlier than usual and separately from the adults. They usually need extra sustenance with the extra playing they will do doubt do. They love to eat with their friends which, if they can be persuaded to focus on another activity while you're eating, allows the adults some "adult speak" time.
The 3 pre-schoolers enjoy dinner.
So who will your next trip be with?
posted on: 4/17/2008 1:00:00 PM by Katherine Macey
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Traveling With Kids
by Katherine Macey
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Katherine Macey, Ph.D., is a professional organizer who is passionate about helping people improve their lives and achieve their goals. She works mainly with academics in their offices and with residential clients in their home offices.
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