TRAVELING with kids. What an undertaking. First bit of advice... "Love 'em or leave 'em".
While my 12 were growing up I was a Girl Scout Leader, Boy Scout Scoutmaster, and avid camper. From tents and backpacks we advanced to a pop-up camper and a series of old motorhomes.
TRAVELING with kids makes for memories. Grandma's on the Go, A single mom and her passel of kids hit the road with guts and gusto. tells it all.
TRAVEL TIP: plan routes and stops from a kid's eye point of view. Kids love water, heights, and animals (especially dinosaurs).
Driving the RV in the Yukon, Chris was bundled in a sleeping bag on the rear bed. A herd of caribou appeared and began to cross the road. I yelled, "Chris, Caribou!". He hopped down the hall, still in the sleeping bag, to flop on the passenger seat to take pictures. We laughed so hard I had to stop.
TRAVEL TIP: Be sensitive to kids time. They dawdle when you are in a hurry and tug you along when you want to read the signs. They also mess with your schedule. In Wyoming, in an deserted state park, four of my boys got themselves locked into a cinderblock outhouse. I threatened to leave them.
TRAVEL TIP: Gget them envolved with kid made journals and disposable cameras. Grandsons, Kyle and Ryan, challenged each other with mental math to figure the distance and time to the next town, (in Canada, in kilometers). They thought Canadian Loonies were neat and Toonies were double neat.
TRAVEL TIP: Teach them to read a map with elevation markings and an orienteering compass.
My kids have hiked mountains, climbed a glacier, watched 'ol Faithful errupt, saw the aurora borealis and caught Salmon bare handed.
TRAVEL TIP: Espect the unexpected. Ryan and Kyle were getting on each other's nerves and mine, so I sent Kyle "to your room'. (the bed in the back of the RV) as a time out.
He called out, "Hit another bump, Grandma!" What's this? I focused on the rearview mirror. As I hit frost heaves, Kyle was bouncing from the bed and touching the ceiling. Discipline?
TRAVEL TIP: Be stingy with the electronics. Anything plugged into a kids ears should keep him quiet, but video games, DVDs, etc. keep him from the scenery. My rule is that all electronics have to be stowed when the RV stops. Nothing electrical leaves the rig.
TRAVEL TIP: Don't ask kids if they had fun. They'll disappoint you with answers. Don't expect kids to cherish their journals and photos as you do yours. Their experiences will create memories.
TRAVELING with kids is worth the preparation, frustration, and agrivation. We adults have the excuse to slow down and see through their eyes.