You know I am a mom of two rambunctious boys. So many people have asked me ...How did you get them to enjoy sightseeing so much? We have been lucky enough to visit 20 countries in the last 5 years, and they actually enjoyed it, remember it, and even learned a thing or two! Imagine that!
So ~ How do you get them to enjoy it, and not feel like you are dragging them around? You know how it goes … the kids complain half way through the day, they are whinny, tired, don’t want to walk, and honestly do not care about those old buildings. ARE WE DONE YET? Come On mom they are just buildings, as you drag them through another museum or tour. Eventually the temper tantrum sets in, the fighting, then the tears begin to flow. Let’s be honest … as a parent, we feel like, geez why did I even bother to spend countless hours trying to plan this trip when they could care less!!! Am I right?
So I decided, that everywhere we traveled, I was going to make sure that my kids were involved, that they remembered it, and learned something along the way. Isn’t traveling about the experience, learning history, and making it fun. I know so many families that travel, drag the kids along kicking and screaming, only to have the day end abruptly and in tears. Here is how I travel with my guys, got them engaged, had fun, and learned something along the way.
1. Let the kids help choose the destination. One year, while we were living in the Czech Republic, I told the kids we were going to take their winter break and go somewhere cool! Now let’s be honest the kids thought a better vacation was to sit at home and watch cartoons. By god, we are in Europe, and we are going to see it, enjoy it, and remember it... If it KILLS US! They have been traveling since they were born. I put them both on a plane to Mexico at 6mos, and on snowboards in Colorado at 3. But, this time I really wanted them to enjoy, remember, and be part of the process. One month before we were going to go, I told them that I wanted to go visit somewhere cool. I wanted them to think it was cool too. So they were going to pick where we should go! I gave them 3 options to choose from ~ Paris, London, or Vienna. They could pick the city, the only rule was that they both had to agree! ** SO what do you think happened here, they actually had to talk about the trip and decide where would be the best place to go! Oh YEAH!
2. Have the kids tell you why they want to go ~ They had to discuss it right? SO have them tell you why they picked that destination. They will have a reason, they most likely will have googled it. I think all kids are computer savvy these days. They will also discuss it amongst themselves. My kids picked London for this trip. My kids said: Vienna is for Old people who like Music (ok I will get them there another day) Paris would be cool. They saw Big Ben in Cartoons and wanted to get a picture pretending to lean on it! OK, fair enough ~ at least they are interested right?
3. Have them pick three things that they want to see! So here I give them a little help ~ I made a list of the 10 top attractions in London, and gave the list to the boys. I tell them to pick 3 things that they each want to see and why. This is where they must get on their little Ipads, research, and find out what they want to see, and why. The fun part is actually watching them research and get excited about the destination! Sometimes it turns into a competition on who can come up with the coolest thing to see on our travels! I help with a list, so I have to do my homework too. I also encourage them to find something that I didn't put on the list, that they would love to see. In this case my kids Picked Stonehenge, outside of my list ~ oh yes another cartoon! But hey how cool is it that my 7-year-old requested to see Stonehenge.
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