Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Travel Tips: Involving the Kids

On our road trips this year, we have gone over our plans for the day with Ethan every morning, so he knows what to expect, and included fun stops along the way to break up the monotony.

Children love routine and predictability. Discussing the plan for each day at the beginning of the day can help them know what they can expect and deal with the change in their normal routine and environment.

One way to make this more tangible is to get a map or Trip Tik and talk about the route you plan to take and any stops you will make.

Include older children in the planning and the progress. During the trip assign one child to be the navigator, providing him with maps and a compass. Assign another to keep track of expenses, equipping her with a notebook, pencil and calculator. Even if they are too young to understand these tasks, children love to pretend and imitate adults.

Whenever possible, give your children choices. Children like to have control of their lives and make their own choices. When you take them out of their routine and familiar environment and sit them in a car for hours on end, it can help tremendously to offer choices. You do not have to provide a lot of options, just two is enough. For example: grapes or carrots; read a book or play a game; do you want to sit by the window before lunch or after lunch and so on.

What are your favorite ways to involve the kids? Share them in the comments.

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