Plan a Kid-Friendly Vacation
Planning a vacation these days can be stressful, especially for parents who are searching for getaways that the whole family can enjoy. Between travel costs, crowds, and cancellations, it might seem easier to just stay home. However, taking a family vacation creates lasting memories, strengthens relationships, and allows for everyone to learn and explore. Even the smallest of breaks from home, work, and daily routines are beneficial and open up chances for new and unforgettable experiences.
Here are some ideas for planning a kid-friendly vacation:
Keep It Simple
When some people think of a kid-friendly vacation, they picture a trip to an all-encompassing amusement park or resort, with continuous stimulation and a costly bill. However, there are many options when it comes to planning a vacation that parents can enjoy as much as their children—especially if you keep it simple.
Before you decide where to go and what to do, it’s important to determine what you want out of your time away as a family. Then, of course, your plans will depend on your budget, means of travel, number and ages of children, etc.
Here are just some of the goals families have when taking a vacation:
• Relaxing away from home/work/school
• Experiencing nature/outdoors
• Having a cultural experience in a new geographical environment
• Visiting a famous landmark/city
• Learning about history, art, etc., through museums/sight-seeing tours
• Traveling to a meaningful area to see extended family or friends
Once you know your goals for taking a trip together, it’s important to keep in mind that simple plans are the best foundation for starting out. You can always add activities and sight-seeing if all goes well. However, spending time together should be the priority. The greatest kid-friendly vacations are those which focus on sharing experiences in a fun, simple, and relaxed manner rather than checking places to see and things to do off a list.
Allow Input from the Kids
Kids are far more likely to enjoy a family vacation if they are allowed some input. Being part of the decision-making process in terms of where to go and what to do can make your children feel valued and special, which is a great way to start out a family vacation.
Of course, kids shouldn’t expect their parents to agree to all of their vacation plans or wishes. However, if you let your child choose from some possible activities and/or locations, you will have clear insight as to what they think they’ll enjoy. Be sure to fulfill your child’s plans as much as possible, and show appreciation for their contribution to the family getaway.
When it comes to families, it’s difficult to please everyone most of the time. Vacations can highlight different interests, tastes, and opinions among family members so that everyone gets to know each other even better. However, these individual differences can lead to conflict as well, which can threaten to undermine the overall enjoyment for the group.
This is an excellent opportunity for parents to emphasize the concept of compromise. Compromise is an important interpersonal skill that many people misunderstand. The idea is not for one or more members of a group to “give in” and go along with something just to avoid conflict. Instead, compromise requires empathy on behalf of all group members in order to reach a decision about which everyone feels represented and understood.
Of course, for families on vacation with kids, this might seem easier said than done. However, with a little bit of practice and some helpful strategies, your family vacation can be an excellent chance for everyone to learn and emphasize the benefits of compromise.
Here are some compromise strategies to use that are both kid and vacation-friendly, if a disagreement arises:
• As parents, model empathy and compromise for your children
• Allow each family member to express what is important to them and why
• Encourage all other family members to acknowledge what each person says
• Consider what each person’s wishes have in common
• Come up with a solution that is as balanced as possible (such as taking turns, coming up with alternative choices, etc.)
Families don’t exist without conflict. However, emphasizing compromise is a way for each family member to feel valued and respected. The art of compromise is also an essential life skill outside of families as well.
Prepare for the Unexpected
No matter how thoroughly or carefully you plan your kid-friendly vacation, something unexpected is likely to happen. Whether this is in the form of inclement weather, sudden illness, traffic, or unanticipated closures, it’s best to be prepared for changes to your plans.
Though unexpected events may be frustrating and stressful, when parents take them in stride while on vacation, that sets a great example for children to manage and accept change in a healthy way. In addition, it makes for a far more kid-friendly getaway to prioritize being together rather than everything going perfectly as planned. Therefore, it’s advisable to be flexible and creative if you need to make alternative choices while away as a family—and a sense of humor can make a big difference.
At Cognisprings, we understand that childhood passes quickly, so it’s essential to create valuable lifetime memories. We support parents who are looking for educational toys and materials that inspire children to explore who they are as individuals and part of a family through stories, imagination, and critical thinking. That’s why we provide books, puzzles, games, and toys that are thoughtfully designed for creativity, curiosity, and inspiration for all ages. In addition, Cognisprings prioritizes fun and educational activities that are screen-free, promote healthy cognitive development, and encourage personal growth through independent play and family togetherness.