Guest Blogger: Peggy Rubens-Ellis, The Positive Parenting Coach
Yes, it’s true, we went to Europe (Italy and Spain to be exact) with a five year old! My husband was able to track our steps and we consistently walked four to six miles a day. I know you are wondering how we got a five year old to walk that long with nary a complaint and also explore a new country with an open mind. So I offer to you some tips and tricks for traveling with young kids. I think these could easily be transferred to any travel–even a trip to the grocery store.
1. Give your children spending money
At each new city, we gave Mira 10 Euros. (We realized that her favorite stops were the little corner shops selling ultra-touristy things). She spent her money carefully and cautiously.
2. Create a collection
We went for magnets, but you could go for Christmas tree ornaments, fans, or pencils.
3. Give your children a camera or your cell phone to snap away
This helped to keep her engaged and also was quite interesting to see what types of things caught her eye.
4. Hunt for things as you are walking
Here are some of the things we looked for – people wearing yellow shirts, dogs, bikes, umbrellas, ice cream shops, water fountains and a multitude of other things.
5. Make up characters
We pretended we were birds, princesses and fairies. On several occasions I made up characters. There was Ratty who came out when we went into the subway, a lonely princess who appeared when we visited her castle and made the castle come alive, and so on.
6. Tell stories
Anything goes. I had to dig deep into my well for this one, but we spent a lot of time walking and telling stories–both fiction and non-fiction. Sometimes we each contributed to the story.
7. Be open and go at a slower pace
There are so many things to see and do while walking. By being open ourselves, we helped her see things. Likewise, she helped us see things that we would have overlooked.
8. Pick out paintings
While in museums we would pick out a certain painting for a friend or relative. Of course, I can’t really buy Grandma Helen a Picasso, but we can imagine.
9. Buy postcards or look at photos beforehand
See if you can spot what you saw.
About Peggy Rubens-Ellis – Peggy is a certified parent coach with a masters degree in education and a school counselor for over 20 years. See more about the Positive Parenting Coach at positiveparentingcoach.com.