Summer is in full swing for most families and that often means vacations, family reunions, camping, and travel. While this can be an exciting time of planning and anticipation, hitting the road also likely includes stress, frustration and the need for patience and flexibility. "Dr. Dave" Schramm from USU Extension brought us four tips to help you and your family make the most of your time together traveling this summer.
• Include children throughout the travel process. Depending on their age, it can be helpful to include your children in your journey - from planning stages and looking at your destination online, to what to wear, and even where to stop along the way. Including children in the process can build excitement and anticipation and can help them feel included, needed, and respected.
• Be creative and take tech-free breaks. If you have a long drive coming up, plan ahead and let your children know what to expect when you pull out of the driveway. Try setting a timer for snacks& dash;when it goes off they get a special treat, or even buy a few surprises. It keeps them anticipating the next snack or prize with less whining and constant asking. There are numerous fun games you can play together as a family while traveling, or try listening to a book together. While technology such as movies, games, and social media can help pass the time, it is important for their brains and eyes (and yours!) to take regular breaks.
• Be flexible and adjust your expectations. Let`s face it. Even the most well thought-out trips will have some bumps along the way. Whether it is not sleeping well, flight delays, long lines, sunburns, sickness, traffic, poor weather, vehicle problems, cancellations, or cranky kids; expect the unexpected. Stay positive and be flexible with your plans. When surprises pop up, stay calm and collected, turn to Plan B, and show your kiddos how to manage things positively when things do not go as planned in life.
• You own your attitude. Ultimately, we get to decide how we will respond to both the good times and the frustrations. Traveling frequently means changes in schedules and routines and trips can bring out the crankiness in both children and parents. Choose to be grateful, kind, positive and keep your sense of humor. Vacations can be times where wonderful memories are made and even the detours and diversions can make for funny stories for years to come. Set an example throughout the trip and remember that people are more important than problems.
Find more from Dr. Dave at relationships.usu.edu.