How to Keep Kids Interested & Engaged While Traveling
Exploring new places is a special gift that many parents are able to give their children. Life experiences like this can have an enormous impact on kids and can be among the memories they cherish most in later life. The problem can be how to keep the adventure fun and interesting for everyone in the family. Here are tips for traveling with kids to help minimise the drama and stress.
Keep It Personal
Children may be briefly impressed by historic buildings but they probably have little interest in listening to extended speeches about historical figures and antiques. Try to find ways to personally relate the place you are visiting to your kids. For example, immigration to the UK or from the UK has given large numbers of people some connection to that country. If you can tie the places your visit to your family’s history, that is one way to keep kids interested. Relating places to television shows, books, or movies your children have seen is another way to try to bring that place’s history alive.
Make It a Game
A drive through the country might seem like a good idea but kids can quickly become bored. You can try to keep kids entertained by bringing their usual electronic games or smartphones but then they might as well be at home. Try to find other ways to spend quality time as a family instead.
Travel-related bingo games can encourage them to look out for cows, tractors, and other items on their bingo card. A trip through small villages could be a chance for them to learn about different styles of architecture so that the kids can race to spot examples of each kind. Looking to see the license plates on the vehicles you see can be a chance to discuss where each one is from and try to collect as many different region or country sightings as possible. Kids can also have a map where they can mark your route as you travel. This can keep them interested while they learn the important life skill of map reading.
Encouraging your kids to take pictures along the way is another way to keep them interested. Plus, they’ll have images of their travels to treasure forever. Gathering items for a scrapbook or other collection can be fun as well. Leaves, rocks, shells, and ticket stubs can all be great things to collect.
Depending on the ages of the children, short attention spans can be a problem. While young kids seem to have boundless energy, they can quickly grow tired and cranky during tours or scenic walks. Plan to break up each day into many pieces. Keep museum visits short and mix educational moments with stops to enjoy ice cream or to run around in a park. Check the places you’ll be visiting to see if they have special tours designed for children. That can help make sure the content is appropriate for them and entertaining.
If you talk in excited terms about your upcoming travels, your children are more likely to look forward to the break. Give the advanced warning so they have time to become adjusted to the idea. Make sure they understand how they are expected to behave in museums or galleries. If they know ahead of time and understand the reasons why they need to stay near you and not dash into areas that have been roped off, your visits should go more smoothly. Children should be aware that “inside voices” will be required in many locations, even if other children aren’t as well behaved. Be sure to make your expectations clear and give positive feedback when your kids are well-behaved. That will also help to prevent public scenes that could embarrass you and make your kids dread travel.