Traveling with children can be a challenge. Family vacations are wonderful, but many are filled with nightmare scenarios. This perception is compounded by movies such as the 1983 film, “National Lampoon’s Vacation.” With some thought and planning, you can have a vacation that is enjoyable for the entire family.
Staycation has become a buzzword in recent years. Beyond the cliche, there is a lot to be said for staying in your home and enjoying the local sites during your vacation. You may be surprised by the fun activities located in your own community. It can eliminate a lot of the stress that vacations can put on parents as well as the pocketbook.
A day at the park or zoo brings out everyone’s inner child.
Attend a local carnival or your state fair.
Educate your children by visiting a local museum or library.
Teach your children about giving to others by participating in a charity walk or other event.
Cook together. Include the children with menu planning. You might be surprised. Children may be more willing to try new foods when they are included in the cooking process.
Camping is a great family getaway. If roughing it isn’t your idea of a good time consider renting a camper and make a reservation at a camping resort. There are countless family-friendly camping grounds all across the country that cater to children as well as adults. Many resorts offer water parks and swimming pools for you to break out your new swimsuits, as well as movie nights and other activities.
Rookies to camping might consider a test run in their backyard. This is especially helpful for young children who have never slept in a tent before. It also affords you the opportunity to see what type of gear and supplies you will need. Although it goes without saying, you are bound to forget something.
A trip to the beach is a great vacation for the entire family. Studies have shown that exposure to a body of water decreases depression and stress. The beach is a great tactile environment for younger children. The feeling of sand sifting through their fingers. Making sand castles in the wet sand. Splashing in the water. These are the makings of wonderful childhood memories.
As an added benefit, the fresh air, swimming and exercise are sure to exhaust everyone. It is a guaranteed good night’s sleep. Bring plenty of sunscreen.
Driving to your destination might seem like a great way to see the country. Half the fun is getting there. You may start to rethink your plan when the kids start whining and bickering in the backseat. Pack an arsenal of car games to keep your young passengers occupied.
The alphabet game is a great road game. Each player tries to find the letters of the alphabet on road signs. First person to complete the alphabet wins. This can be especially challenging in rural areas.
Make road trip BINGO cards using roadside objects such as a red barn instead of numbers. Have small prizes for the winner.
Have everyone write their own Mad Lib stories to bring on the trip. Samples are available on the internet if you don’t feel creative.
There are bound to be a few bumps in the road. No one can plan for every contingency. Try to relax and roll with the flow. Make your family vacation a treasured childhood memory.