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Ten Ways to Get Kids Excited Abouth The Family Trip
by Ruth Lutnick
You, your husband and two children, ages 10 and 13 are going on a long-anticipated—by you—trip to London and Paris. You and your husband have been there before and loved it so much that you simply must show your children those famous places and mind-opening culture palaces.
Your children are not so thrilled. In fact, the 13-year-old, a girl, has asked if she could stay with her best friend while you and her whiny younger brother go to Europe without her.
How do you turn the scenario around? How do you detoxify the inevitable, “Are we there yet?” Here are ten ways to go.
#1 Get them into the mood of the place in advance. Watch movies or read books set in that particular country or city. This will involve them in the places on an emotional level, and they'll be really keen to actually go to “where it happened.” Many of these media offerings are about kids, and that's always an interest builder. Some of these stories show the kids as the brave, the bold and adventurous ones, while the adults in charge need their help. Nothing like being more in control of a situation than the grownups to whet your appetite for travel.
#2 Find places that are intriguing, not-well-known and “kid-friendly” to visit. As a former kid, I'm sure you remember how PAINFUL “seeing” something can be. Plan to go to places where you will be “doing” something. Active places win hands down with kids. If you do go to a “seeing” place, plan an activity, such as a scavenger hunt, to transform it into a “doing” place. Imagine the fun you can have at spots such as the perfume museum in Paris, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, or at the City of London museum sound and light show depicting the famous fire that destroyed London!
#3 Plan shopping trips that your kids will enjoy and have them save up for special stuff they like, or give them allowances. Allow equal time for each in the shop of his/her choice. Getting stuff is always a blast, and showing the stuff off to friends gives them bragging rights as well!
#4 Let the kids share in the planning. Set aside some days, blocks of time, evenings as you write out your itinerary and tell the kids that they decide what the whole crew does at those times. This gets them involved and excited about the things that THEY look forward to.
#5 Go heavy on the local entertainment. Kids love music, movies, sports events. Plan these kid-friendly events with your kids input, and you're sure to have a blast. They'll remember the joust, or football (a.k.a. Soccer) match. Go Beckham!
#6 Leave some time for relaxation. Stay at a hotel with a swimming pool, a tennis court or other game centers. Don't begrudge them that important video arcade time.
#7 Plan to meet local kids. Studies all show that kids love meeting other kids. If you have friends or people you can connect with in your destination who have kids, plan a visit. You can also connect by searching the internet for kids' interative sites.
#8 Put your kids in charge of the photography department, or at least their own photography department. Provide each with a good camera. You don't have to bring a computer; there are plenty of internet cafes and some hotels have web access. If they are anxious to share photos with their friends back home and keep in touch, this is a good way to do it.
#9 This may be the only don't in the list, but I feel strongly about it: Don't insist they keep a journal or diary. This is a chore. Unless they themselves come up with the idea, mum's the word.
#10 Have fun: this means you too. Taking your kids on a trip will provide experiences and closeness with them that will last until their own kids are ready to be launched. Nowadays, even grandparents are traveling with their grandchildren.
Happy travels to you and your whole family!
About the author: Ruth Lutnick is the CEO and founder of Four Corners Books, which publishes children's travel adventure books . She is an accomplished children's author and educator.