17 April 2009

Encouraging your kids to enjoy the travel moment

Often when reading blogs about traveling with kids, you see suggestions for using DVD players and such like to entertain your kids while your doing "boring" things like moving from one place to another.

I have a suggestion: how about encouraging your children to enjoy looking at what they see around them? How about encouraging them to actually engage in their surroundings, to observe, to comment, and to experience? What is the problem with looking out the car/train/etc. window at endless stretches of countryside?

Apparently children HAVE to be kept entertained for every moment of their waking lives. Why? Why must we cosset our kids by keeping them in an entertainment bubble that means they basically take their home environment with them? Why even take them on a vacation, when you could all happily stay at home and keep watching your TV? If you want a travel experience, watch a travel show...

Or, how about actually TALKING with your kids? How about talking about what it is that you are seeing? How about getting them to comment on their travel experiences?
  • What did you like best today?
  • What did you like least today?
  • Why did you like/dislike those things?
  • What was the most surprising thing today?
  • Do you have any questions about what we've seen so far today?
I know that kids can get grumpy and "bored" when you're travelling, and at those times its important just to maintain the peace. However, how about encouraging them to experience rather than just passively sit back and be entertained?

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes I'm surprised at how well my kids can entertain themselves and each other. Sometimes I do a great job of entertaining them. Other times we need a little help, especially on long plane rides where there is nothing to look at. My daughter can read to herself but my son prefers his electronic games.
    I'm a natural introvert and there is not a person on this earth, no matter how much I love him or her, that I can constantly interact with on a long trip without getting really, really grumpy.
    On the other hand, I'm not going to let my kids keep playing their games when we get to our destination. A one-hour car ride does not require entertainment the way a ten-hour flight does!