You’re taking a trip and taking the kids with you… exciting times! But, slightly intimidating ones, perhaps…
How do you manage to get yourself and them prepared? We don’t often think about getting the kids prepared, do we? It’s normally all about our lists, what to pack, what emergencies supplies to bring, will it all fit? How do you even pick where to go and what to do? Happy kids make happy parents so the destination and what you do there is important.
So here are 6 practical tips – that don’t take up a lot of time – to ensure the kids are ready:
What are your child’s interest? Animals, swimming, nature? Where would you like to visit that will also cater to your child? Where can you find child-friendly activities? These are all valid questions that parents should be asking themselves before they decide on the destination.
One solution is Intrepid family holidays, which take out much of the guesswork. All itineraries are planned with children in mind. How? Travel days are taking into consideration – arriving to the destination before dinnertime. The included activities are chosen with children and parents in mind – whether it be cooking classes in Italy or rafting in Bali.
How many days to go? A good ole countdown is a great way to start to get kids excited.
Doesn’t have to be anything fancy (print off a calendar for the month you’re leaving) If your child is anything like most, they’ll ask 10 times a day how many more days until we depart…I suggest you only do your countdown 20-30 days prior. Or else you are going to need that holiday more than you think.
Are we there yet? The dreaded question that most parents hate!
When taking a flight, whether it be for 4 hours or 24 hours you know you will be asked this question…at least once. To help your child understand the concept of travel I always take out our globe and talk about where we live and where we are going. We live in Australia so naturally most places we venture to overseas is a minimum of 6 hours on a plane.
We discuss how it doesn’t look far at all on the globe but talk about how long it actually is and how we’re getting there. Then once you are on the plane, check out the flight map with your child so they can see the plane move over the oceans or land to your destination.
A great way to immerse yourself and your child into the local culture is teaching them some key sayings in the local language ahead of time. ‘Hello’, ‘goodbye’ and ‘thank you’ are good starting points. We practice at the dinner table each night a couple of weeks before we jet off.
You’ll feel such joy (and pride!) when your child says “sawadika” to local hotel staff upon check-in in Thailand or “Terima Kasih” when someone gives your child a meal in Borneo. Children lap up any type of learning when it comes to language. My child can now count to 10 in Mandarin and Burmese and say hello in 8 different languages.
You’re going on holidays and your child won’t need any toys. After all, they will be too busy learning new things, meeting new friends and trying new foods….right? That said, on my last trip I took along some “gifts” which were toys that were relevant to our holiday and given out ahead of the activity.
For example, I gave my daughter a pair of binoculars before we headed into the Borneo jungle to spot animals, a head torch for our turtle spotting at night on Turtle Island and a copy of children’s National Geographic magazine which featured a story on Asian Elephants before we visited the Elephant Nature Park. Make it relevant and fun for the destination and activities.
If your child is old enough to read, buy some books on the place you are going to be visiting. It could be a book on African animals for your safari in Botswana, the history of the pyramids for your journey to Egypt or just a world atlas which will cover off future trips too.
We love reading “Children Just Like Me: A Unique Celebration of Children Around the World” by Anabel and Barnabas Kindersley in collaboration with UNICEF.