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Ten tips for taking your children on outings

Taking a day trip or just going out with the kids for a few hours? Take a few minutes before you leave to make sure you have everything you need. A mom of two has these ten pointers to make your outings as stress-free as possible for everyone.

The Ten Tips
1) Transportation: You have decided on a specific outing, now look into how you can get there. Should you take your car, a bus, or the train? How long will the ride be? Is there parking available? If yes, for how much?

2) Cost: Call ahead for prices. Do they have family or group rates? Do they have special rates for children? If yes, for which age groups? Are there different off season prices? Ask them for the business hours to help you plan your day.

3) Food: Can you bring in your own lunch or must you buy everything from their restaurant? Can you bring drinks? What type of facilities do they offer, a microwave for baby bottles, or to reheat baby's lunch? What if one of your children has a food allergy?

4) Equipment: Should equipment be needed, can you bring your own? Do they offer a rental service? How much will rental cost you?

5) Guided Tours: Do they have guided tours? Are they include in your entrance fee or there is an additional charge? How longdo the tours last? Are tours available in other languages?

6) Length of Stay: Outings can range from one hour to the whole day. Be attentive to your children's moods. For certain activities you might want to make it a half a day instead of a full day? Some outings (ex. bowling or mini-golf) an hour or two are more than enough.

7) Safety: Do they have First-aid certified staff on site? On their excursion map do this list where the first-aid boxes can be found. It's always a good idea to bring along a pocket-size first aid kit.

8) Making the most out of your experience: Once you get home, ask you child to draw you a picture of his or her outing. Enrich their experience with a song, a poem or story within the same context.

9) Re-evaluation: What's the feedback from the children? Did they seem to enjoy themselves? Was the price worth the activity? If you were to plan this activity again what would you do differently?

10) Extra Considerations:Make your outings complete. For outdoors activities, bring sun hat, sun screen, extra hat or gloves. Dress in weather appropriate clothing. Bring a pack-sack with little activities to keep a occupied. Crayons, paper, action figures, a few books are some ideas.

More ideas
Where to go? Use your yellow pages, they're resourceful. Mini-golf, bowling, sport activities, roller blading, train rides, museum, farm visit, music recitals and plays would also be fun. The important aspect is that your family is involved in an activity.

Take five to ten minutes for every outing to ask yourself these simple questions. It's well worth the check for you and your children to enjoy and have a good time.

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