August is vacation time, and we're celebrating the possibility of travel this summer. Ben has tips for a sane, safe, and significant vacation.
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1. Prepare kids for what's about to happen. Explain the airport process including baggage and waiting in line. Let them know how long until you stop next and what you'll have for lunch. Kids do better when they know what to expect. Stick to your plan as much as possible.
2. Pack healthy snacks like fruit and trail mix. On long car trips, divide snacks up into small sizes and let them graze, even if a meal is imminent. Snacking helps break the monotony of long car rides.
3. Create or purchase inexpensive, disposable, new toy packets, like a few coloring pages with crayons or new markers. Small toy cars, fidget toys, puzzle/activity pages, lacing boards, travel bingo, eraser boards; you're limited only by your imagination. Keep a trove of these small, new goodies for when your kids are having big emotions or are bored.
1. Make sure kids have your contact information at all times. For young children, write your name, phone number and where you're staying on a card. Insert the card into a necklace or bracelet, tuck it into a secure pocket, or tape it into your child's clothing so that if they're lost, they can be found again.
2. Plan ahead with your child's doctor to get enough prescription medication to last beyond the end of vacation.
3. Pack a first aid kit, and be sure to include all the over-the-counter medications your family uses. Don't assume your child won't have that occasional allergy attack. Things happen and you want to be prepared to respond on the spot.
Travel with Significance
1. Plan down time. Resist the temptation to squeeze too much into your days. Consider the needs of each family member and allow your introvert some quiet time, and your extrovert an opportunity to make new friends in an unstructured way.
2. For teens, plan screen-free time for at least part of the vacation. Use the time to ask good questions and connect.
3. Give kids a film camera and let them get the photos developed after your return. Wait for the pictures and relive the experience together.
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