From the Superintendent’s Seat:
Planning for Travel with the Children
Over the past ten years my immediate family (my husband, our three children, and their spouses) has grown with the addition of nine grandchildren.
As an educator, I strongly believe that there is nothing that compares to travel as an educational and a growing experience for children. Traveling to different climates, various regions of the country, and of course outside the U.S., teaches children many different things, and these are the kinds of lessons they don’t forget. The travel process itself affords many educational opportunities. Tracking a trip on a map makes geography truly meaningful and answers to “are we there yet?” can include math lessons and explanations of time zones. Math skills can also be strengthened by giving your children a souvenir budget, or involving them in figuring out restaurant bills and other costs.
Traveling with your children enables the whole family to take a break from daily routines and allows you to concentrate on one another without distractions. Play and explore together. Now is the time to build that sandcastle and inspire a future architect or photograph your trip and write funny captions together to create a memory album.
Each vacation place offers its own unique lessons on natural resources, culture, and language. Many resorts offer educational children’s programs that include games, nature exploration, and even trips off site.
Of course, traveling with seventeen people requires planning. We have found that our most successful trips are those spent at an all-inclusive destination that has activities and food that appeal to everyone, from infant to grandparent. Save the whirlwind sightseeing trips for your smaller, immediate family trips. A childcare program is always on our list, but with the number of adults we have it’s not always necessary to utilize it. We can even have the luxury of spending time with just one grandchild at a time. It’s wonderful to be able to get to know each child as an individual this way. My oldest granddaughter especially appreciates a little time away from the eight younger ones. All together, we can learn new dances, practice swimming, and try our hand at different sports such as archery and sailing.
The key to success is to be aware of the many stress pitfalls and plan around them. Talk together and agree on how to organize your time. Because it’s almost impossible to have seventeen people agree to the same activity at the same time, we don’t attempt it. We try to meet at meal times, but agree to remain flexible. Another source of stress can be trying to experience all that your vacation spot has to offer. Our advice: forget it. Enjoy what you’re doing at the moment and don’t worry about what you’re missing on the activity schedule. The important thing is that you’re making lifelong family memories together.#