Involve Children in Planning Family Vacations
What will you do this summer with your children? Will they visit any distant family? Will out-of-state family come to visit you? What will you do for holidays? When do you have work holidays? When does your spouse have work holidays? Whatever shall you do with all your “free time?”
Our children ask these questions also. When they return to school in the fall, “What did you do on your summer vacation?” becomes a common theme. School assignments sometimes focus on the completed summer vacation. Conversations over lunch or recess also focus on the summer. What if you don’t know what you want to do? Discuss it with your child. Let your child help you plan.
Children like to have control over their time, plans, and future just like adults. Allowing our children to help us plan family outings and vacations can teach valuable skills and create a lot of fun. Consider everything you did the last time you planned a family vacation. You needed to decide
- When to go
- Where to go
- What to take
- Swimming suit
- Hiking boots
- Night clothes
- Activities for travel and down time
- What to do once you’re at your destination
- What to do en route to your destination
Oh the Places You’ll Go
What can your child help you plan? Children as young as 2 or 3 like to choose their own clothes. Maybe your child can help you pack his or her clothes. Make sure you have enough clothing for food or toileting accidents, but don’t worry about packing for every possible problem. Let your child design his or her wardrobe for the trip. Ask your child what he or she will need. “Will we go swimming? What do you need to go swimming?”
Older children can help choose the destination. Will we go camping? Will we stay in a motel or a hotel? Will we stay overnight anywhere? What do we need to take with us? What will be provided for us? Do we need sunscreen? Do we need coats? Let your child think of things to take. Let your child ask questions. Planning a family outing or a family vacation teaches many skills. Older children can even help budget for the trip including how much money each person has for food, souvenirs, and so forth.
After planning the trip, assign everyone specific jobs during the trip. For example, who will be the family photographer? Who will track the money spent? Who will be in charge of meals for the day? Who will document the journey? Will everyone have a turn doing the different jobs?
As your kids become teenagers, they can plan everything from finding the destination, planning the route, setting the budget, and creating back-up plans when things don’t do the way you planned them. Rarely do vacations go exactly the way we plan them, so remember to help your children be flexible and plan for problems along the way. You can’t plan for everything. Be sure you plan for fun. Be sure you plan to throw out the plan sometimes and be spontaneous (sounds funny to plan to be spontaneous, doesn’t it). Just remember, vacations are meant to be fun. Planning also can be fun. Also, when your child sees a plan that he or she created come true, your child will be excited to do more planning. This teaches valuable life skills and takes some of the stress off of the parents.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning disabilities achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs