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Travel Tips for Families

Yay summer vacation!  Are you planning a trip with your family somewhere this summer?  If so, here are a few tips for making things go a little more smoothly.

  1. Remember that when you bring your kids, it’s a “trip,” not a “vacation.”  You’ll still be working plenty, so set your expectations accordingly.  (Travel is work for kids, too, btw.)
  2. Plan some down-time for every day. 
  3. Are you staying with friends or family?  Then plan ‘away-time,’ where just you and your immediate family are together, maybe even every day.  Also, consider exchanging some info with your hosts ahead of time, like the rules of their house, and your kids’ sleep habits, etc.  
  4. Consider planning individual, away-from-your-kids time if you and your partner can swing it.  Expect some behavioral regression.  Being away from home, eating strange foods, constant novelty–these things are fun but wearing.  Do yourself and your kids a favor and don’t worry too much when/if they happen.  Stay calm, and switch to Plan B (downtime).  
  5. Talk with children ahead of time about what will happen on the trip, including the good, and the bad.  Explain what they are likely to encounter at the airport, or the lines at Disney, or how Grandma’s house has breakables. 
  6. Give kids a basic daily agenda each morning (“Today, we are going to take a boat tour, and see Uncle Mike, and walk through a big park”) so they know what to expect.
  7. You set the tone for emotion.  Try to project a calm, flexible, adventurous vibe when things go wrong.
  8. Make sure to leave yourself at one day after your trip to recover, before anyone has to go back to work/school/routines.  More is better if you can.

What other ideas do you have?  Share them in the comments!

What mountain biking and children have in common

When mountain biking, you learn not to look too long at the obstacles in your path. It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s true. 

Here’s how it goes the first zillion times before you learn this lesson:

You spot a rock.  You look intently at the rock because it is big and bad and a little scary.  You look at it, thinking about how you Really, Really don’t want to hit that rock.  You try to steer away.  You can’t.  You hit the rock and fall over.  Ouch.

Okay, but how is this like children?

Because they do it, too.  They do it in life, with their own behaviors and with yours, too. 

They create the outcome they fear.   WE create the outcome we fear.  Or, to put it another way: we create the outcome with our fear. 

So instead of looking at the rock (or expecting the unwanted behavior, or fearing the broken plate, or the rude comment), think about, focus on, expect the positive outcome.  Ignore the (small) negatives.   Focus on the positives.   And enjoy the ride.  :^)