There’s a lot of pressure to make summer the best time of year. After all, your kids only get a summer vacation for a short period before they have to get summer jobs and internships. If you’re on the hunt for ways to make this a memorable summer, look no further. We’ve rounded up the best tips for traveling, staying on budget, all while staying on track with summer reading!
Here’s a starter guide to traveling with little ones to make the trip as seamless as possible!
Take the early flight
This advice is difficult to hear. No one wants to get up before the sun rises, but statistically speaking, early flights are less likely to get delayed or cancelled than later flights. According to the Bureau of Transportation, the best time to fly is between 6 and 7am. Sorry, night owls!
Inform your kids
If they haven’t travelled far, or maybe never been on a plane before, give them the run down on what to expect during their travel. This is especially useful when going through TSA as a family; while you’ll likely be in charge of taking out all electronics and liquids from each carry-on, the long lines and security screenings might be overstimulating for your child. Assure them it’s all a normal part of the process and you’ll be at your destination in no time!
Kids in front
When navigating new spaces, if your child isn’t directly next to you or holding your hand, keep them in front of you. Places like airports, train stations, even gas stations on a road trip can have tons of distractions that could send your kid running off.
First Aid ready
Headache relief and antacids might not be enough for your vacation. Things happen all the time while traveling, especially with children–swimmer’s ear on beach trips, scraped knees at theme parks, dehydration at the zoo, you name it. Keep a full stock of as many remedies as you can fit in your suitcase. You likely won’t need them, but it’s always best to be prepared!
Get kids involved
Let them have a say in what you do on vacation! Surf your destination’s tourism website with your child and show them their choices. If they have trouble making decisions, offer two choices and ask them to pick one. It’s more fun when everyone gets to do what they love!
Make a tantrum plan
If your kids are young, traveling can be big and scary as well as super exciting. This whirlwind of emotions can easily exhaust them, and ultimately lead to some meltdowns along the way. Devise a game plan in case emotions run a little too high while you’re on vacation.
These ideas can be worked into just about any routine and are guaranteed fun for the whole family!
Ice cream at home
Going to your local creamery can get expensive real fast. Did you know making your own ice cream can be made with pantry staples? You don’t need a mixer or ice cream machine either! The best part is, it’s fun that the whole family can get in on with customized toppings and flavors.
Museums, botanical gardens, tours, and more!
Take note of when these attractions host special children/family days where kids get in free (or at a discount). They make for fun and educational day trips!
Analog over digital
Give your kids the opportunity to see the world through a new lens–literally! Disposable cameras are inexpensive ways to capture memories over the summer that don’t involve a smartphone or tablet. Plus, it could even spark an interest in a new creative outlet!
Start a mini garden
Let your kids have a say in what goes in the garden! Better yet, give them a small, designated space to grow seeds of their choosing. Some great starter plants include sunflowers, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, and marigolds!
Host a cookie contest
Find a different chocolate chip cookie recipe (or your favorite cookie) for each person in your family and put them all to the test! What makes each cookie different? What do you like about the winner?
Kids want to play outside, play video games, and do just about anything other than schoolwork over the summer. Here’s how to make it fun!
Start a book club
Depending on your child’s curriculum, they could be reading the same books as their friends. Coordinate with parents to get them together to talk about their latest reading session!
Read somewhere new
Encourage reading when you go to the beach or the park. Set the tone for a light, carefree afternoon. Stress that the idea is to relax. Yes, this may be for school, but they should still enjoy themselves!
Create a stress-free ambiance
Kids can get stressed if they feel too much pressure to finish a book. Create a reading atmosphere around the house that doesn’t take it so seriously: open some windows, softly play some instrumental music, maybe even read a book yourself and laugh out loud at the funny bits–anything to show them that reading at home should be a relaxing, fun activity; not a chore!
Host a movie night
It may sound counterintuitive, but if their book has been adapted into a film, or even TV show, it serves as a great incentive to get them to finish. They can watch the movie once they’re done reading, and promise the full movie theatre experience: snacks, friends, and maybe even staying up a little late!
Visit the library
If their reading list is flexible, let your child pick what they want to read. They should be enjoying the experience; it shouldn’t feel like homework!