Vacationing with kids can seem very difficult. Finding activities that are age appropriate is not only hard; it is often impossible. This is why we want to give you some secrets to planning a great vacation with kids. In fact, these 3 secrets can be used to plan great vacations for any age group.
1. Be the Person You Want Your Kids to Be (i.e. Don’t lie in order for them to be able to participate in an activity)
Be the person you want your kids to be some day. While this is not intended to be Parenting Advice 101, we constantly see parents trying to lie to get “MORE” for their child. It is not easy to show up to an activity you thought your child could participate in only to find out they are not old enough, tall enough, mature enough, etc. Do not fall prey to that little voice that tells you how disappointed your child is going to be. Instead, be honest and vulnerable. Treat them exactly how you wish others would treat you—by telling them the truth and refusing to “Bend the Rules.”
Instead, ask the tour / activity operator about other possibilities of things to do in the area. Often there are other age appropriate activities that children love, even taking walks by a creek or along a trail in the woods can lead to great family fun.
Pro Tip: Don’t give in to the Ice Cream Monster until after the activity!
2. Ask for Other Suggestions From Kid Friendly Activity Operators
At Wildwater, we are always answering questions about what else there is to do in the area. Because we have activities for children as young as 4 years old, we are aware of other area activities available for your family. In fact, we also know which operators offer discounts for either doing multiple activities or for families in general. Even the Wildwater reservations office is a great resource for planning your next family vacation.
3. Plan Your Days Using the Best Rhythm for Your Child
Does your child take a nap in the middle of the day? Do they wake up with a lot of energy, or do they want a big breakfast immediately? These questions are critical to planning the ultimate vacation for your family!
1st rule of vacation planning with kids: you will get the most out of them if you keep their schedule as familiar as possible.
Kids are used to being on a schedule. When that schedule gets messed up, it can sometimes take days to get back on track, so plan around that. This might mean booking lodging that is closer to your activities so that you can make it back for nap time. Likewise, you might plan travel time to an activity further away so that kids can nap in the car.
Recognizing your child’s energy fluctuations is also important (mostly for your personal sanity).
Plan activities that complement their high energy times in order to help them expend energy when it is most important. For instance, grandparents tend to book the Wildwater KidZip for the afternoon after nap time in order to wear grandkids out before the evening. We joke that if a grandparent finds out about KidZip early in a vacation, we often see them two or three more times that week!.
Also remember that some of the best activities do not always cost a significant amount of money.
Hiking, biking, and playing games around the house are activities that are not only fun, but they are also great for building habits outside of vacation time. Find the activities that your family enjoy and then plan to do them outside of vacation as well. Vacations are not just meant to be fun: they are also meant to enhance family time at home as well!
These 3 secrets:
Being the person you want your kids to be. Asking for suggestions from kid friendly activity operators, and planning your days using the best rhythm for your child are sure to lead to a higher quality vacation experience for you and your family. Vacations are not meant to be entirely focused on your kids. Instead, recognize that by planning a vacation according to your child’s needs will allow for high quality activities for you as well!