Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer Vacation (with the kids!)

There is nothing as American as a summer vacation.  Loading up the car or getting on a plane, packing the RV or camper and heading for a new location is just the starting point for creating fun and long lasting memories.

When traveling with children it pays to plan ahead and be organized.  Here are a few tips to help you get started.

  • Ziploc Bags - large ziploc bags are a necessity when travelling with children.  The first use is to pack a child's clothes for each day in a separate bag.  Everything from underwear out.  This way your child has an outfit all ready to go.  He or she can pack their pajamas back into the bag after changing and then they will be ready for the evening.  Pack extra socks and underwear, bathing suits, and dress up clothes separately.  Bring extra bags to take home shells, rocks, or other souvenirs you pick up along the way.
  • Snacks - pack familiar, favorite snacks for your child.  Long road trips and rainy "inside" days will be better if the child has familiar snacks that are easy to eat and easy to access.  Keep the snack bag within reach in the car or plane.  You may think about packing breakfast too.  This is easy and saves money.  Many hotels have refrigerators nowadays.  Bring a box of cereal, plastic bowls and spoons, buy milk when you get to your destination, and you are all set for those early (hungry) risers.  You may wish to pack granola bars,  peanut butter, and fruit.
  • Books, Games, Toys - With elementary aged children it behooves you to have a tablet, whether ipad, kindle, or nook.  You can load it with their books, games and music.  It is fun to bring a family game to play on days when you are not out sightseeing, or ones you can play in the car.  The license plate game, I'm Going on a Picnic, and 20 questions are fun to play with the family in the car.
  • Seating Rotation - I come from a family of 5 children and someone was always "in the middle".  Plan with the children a seating chart that rotates so that everyone gets a chance to be near a window.  You may choose to have a plan for each day or rotate every stop.  Choose what works best for your family.
  • Responsibilities on the Trip - Children need to know what is expected of them on a trip.  Running up and down hallways and hitting all the buttons on the elevator may be fun for the child but not always for others who are staying there.  Each child can be given a responsibility.  One child can wash car windows at the gas station, one child can clean trash out of the car, one child can dispense hand sanitizer and paper towels when needed.  Older children can help carry bags and luggage, younger children can hand out granola bars and other packaged snacks on the road.  You can find a job for everyone.
  • First Aid Kit - Remember to pack one with supplies.
  • Camera - With digital cameras you must remember to pack the charger.  Kids like to take pictures too. Giving each child a disposable camera allows them to take their own pictures.  It teaches responsibility and planning.  If there are 36 exposures, you need to plan what you want a picture of and everyone can make their own memory book when you get home.

Happy Travels and Memories~

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