How to Prepare Your Kids to Get the Most Out of a Vacation

If you’re traveling with kids, you will get more value out of your trip if you spend time preparing them for the adventure before you depart.

If you’re travelling with young kids, you will get much more value out of your trip if you spend a little time preparing them for the upcoming adventure before you depart.

As we have gone on more and more trips with Harriet and Luca, here are four lessons we have learned that will help you get your kids mentally ready for their vacation.

1. Read Books About Your Destination

Reading books with your children should be a regular part of your day-to-day routine all year, but it is especially important when planning a trip with them.

We have found that Harriet and Luca both engage much more with a place when they are already mentally familiar with the place they are going to. One of the best ways to do this is to try and find books that are specifically linked to the place you plan to visit.

That could mean a picture book with images of the landmarks they are going to see, a simple story that is set in the location, or an educational book that includes facts and the history of the destination you are heading to.

2. Lots of Verbal Explaining

Talk to your children about what to expect, repeatedly.

For the best results, try and get down to a really granular level about what you will be doing each day. Here are some examples:

  • How long will the flight last?
  • What time will you land?
  • Will there be a time difference?
  • How long will it take to get to your accommodation?
  • How long are you staying for?
  • How will you move around while you’re there?
  • What will the weather be like?
  • Who or what will you see while you’re there?
  • Will they hear a different language?
  • What activities will you do?

And so on…

The more you can familarise them with what to expect, the more excited they will be when they are actually experiencing it for real.

3. Early Introduction to Special Clothes or Equipment

For our upcoming trip to the arctic circle in Finland, both kids will need to wear various garments that they have never seen before. That includes snow boots, skiing goggles, snow gloves, and thermal outer clothes.

It would be impossible for them to even venture outside without these items (we’re expected temperatures of as low -35 degree celsius!), so it is vital that there are no issues or refusal to wear specific items.

By introducing them to these items in the comfort of their own home while they are in a good mood, we can make them excited about the new garments rather than apprehensive.

Hopefully, this will mean they will be much more willing to put the unusual items on once we arrive.

4. Play Destination-Themed Educational Games

Every child loves a game. So one way to make sure they get excited about the upcoming break is to associate the fun of games with the reality of a holiday. There are lots of things you could do, like jigsaws about the place you are visiting or playing “I Spy” on a photo of a well-known landmark.

However, we are big fans of using travel flashcards, especially because Harriet and Luca are both visual learners.

We started using flashcards with Harriet when she was a little baby. They are a great way to introduce learners to new vocabulary, and there are endless ways to use them.

Some of the benefits of using travel flashcards include:

  • Improves meta-cognition (awareness of one’s thought processes and an understanding of the patterns behind them)
  • Links creation in the brain and stimulates the identification of objects
  • Improves awareness of the world around them
  • Engages active recall (to remember something you’ve learned once before)
  • Develops knowledge and the ability to understand
  • Allows for confidence-based repetition
  • Stimulates thinking for themselves
  • Improves fine motor skills
  • Enhances visual memory

We’re in the middle of making a series of travel flashcards that you can download for free.

How Do You Prepare Your Kids for Trip?

These are just five ideas that we use regularly, but we’re sure that some of you have even more creative ways to get your kids ready for a holiday.

Make sure you let us know your tips in the comments below.

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