We all love to bring our kids along with us on our RV adventures! But this may not always be the easiest things to do. With all the stimuli children are accustomed to, sometimes it can be difficult to convince them of the greatness of the outdoors. While this might be difficult, but with some planning and ingenuity, you can help create a wonderful atmosphere that you will all enjoy!
Seven strategies for traveling families:
- Leave a bit of give in your schedule. Most youngsters usually are not naturally continuous do-ers on a vacation. If you have an agenda packed end to end with activities, the kids will start complaining and need to stay somewhere and just hang out. Think of your kids sweating in Washington DC, hiking from monument to monument with the blistering heat and waiting in the sun at the Spy Museum. All good ideas but some down time is needed for them to retain their trip enthusiasm.
- Don’t expect kids to be grateful for all of the sacrifices it takes to travel on a trip. They are not going to thank you profusely or act wonderfully. Instead, watch for that moment of wonder or the pure joy smile – it is these ìmomentsî that make the trip happy and memorable. Photograph those moments and it will be all you might remember later.
- Set the expectation – traveling may be a nightmare. Whether by plane or car, summer vacations are filled with other people on vacation and there can be inevitable delays, traffic and waiting. Have a plan for the long waits. Donít expect a really perfect trip; if everything goes swimmingly, then it’s a bonus. Electronics might be your best friend during these moments.
- Let everyone choose one event/activity and one restaurant destination for the trip. After we select our destination (even if it’s a repeat), we put out a menu of options and every child can choose one of those options or propose something else. If one child chooses swimming, we make sure we get some swimming into the holiday, whether in a hotel pool or a beach. In addition they get to choose one kind of food that we will be sure to eat. This is a huge hit with our kids and helps us minimize complaints in the middle of trip. Our youngest and oldest like to do very different things but each knows that their treasured turn will come.
- Try to pack light and smart. It is a basic but all of us still ìoverpackî and drag around things we just donít need. So now we sit down and make a list together, then make it an event. Okay everyone bring down three pairs of pajamasî, then ìeveryone go get five shirts and one has to have a collarî, etc. And they need to carry what they pack.
- Everyone has to take a book. This is the big rule and my kids now look forward to going to the bookstore to select a special book for the trip. We have a kindle and the kids love to borrow the kindle to read. I also give extra credit for creating and writing inside a journal; they can write words or draw or both. I give them $1 a page for quality journal writing. It is almost certain the youngsters will be asked to write down something about their summer when school resumes so they have gotten a head start.
- Electronics are awesome but you’ll want to set some ground rules about usage. The ipods, phones, ipads, DSs, and other devices are amazing and really help children stay distracted during the hectic travel challenges but they should not check out and not participate in your trip.