Thursday, December 18, 2014

It's not tricky or tragedy!

There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.
~ Walt Streightiff

December is a great time for winter vacation! Mountains to forests to desert to oceans, all wait to treat people with a great family experience. But sadly many families back out for the fear of taking their children along and ruining their so called 'relaxing time'. Well, vacationing with children is not tricky or tragedy as most people consider. All it takes is a bit of matured understanding, careful planning and setting reasonable expectations out of the vacation. When I say matured understanding, I only mean understanding the simple fact of 'Perspective Change'. Let me explain it in a simple way. It is very normal as adults, we are so used to seeing things from much above the ground level. If we squat down completely and see things from the ground level, those same mundane and boring things will now present itself in a completely different perspective, totally challenging our perception of the world wide open! It is understanding this simple fact about perspective that will go a long way in understanding a child's requirement for a great family vacation!

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A great family vacation with children starts with planning for their 'expectations' instead of 'locations'. For this the family should involve their children (assuming they are not toddlers, in which case location absolutely doesn't matter) in the destination planning instead of "we-planned-it-now-blindly-follow" pattern. This can be done by presenting them a list of pre-identified destinations along with a rough visual idea of what they can expect out of each destination. If they prefer to be in mountains for some reason, why force desert on them? This activity in itself will seed the sense of belonging in them as a family and on top of it will create a lot of excitement about the vacation!

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Prior to the trip, it is also very important to keep their curiosity ticking by keeping a vacation countdown calender and by initiating the idea of coming up with a vacation book where they can do research and write down all places they want to see :)

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Once this is done, it is all about their unpredictability during the trip which can be easily handled by doing a careful-flexible planning! Instead of covering all the places in the itinerary, it makes sense to slow down and cover few places in their pace. This will give them plenty of time to "question" and "understand" things around them. It is very important to nurture this curiosity, as ignoring it will slow down their reasoning capacity which is an important skill for their future! New places will naturally provide interesting things for them to perceive and understand it in their own terms of sights, sounds and smells. Unlike adults, exhaustion is definitely not in their dictionary!

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Taking the day easy is the key. Later in the hotel room they can just jot down their experience or draw what they saw during the day in their little vacation book. It will certainly come handy too when they come back and explain their memories to other family members or their friends back in school!

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Apart from this families just have to plan their budget in advance and keep extra room for children's needs. Saying 'No' to their favorite candy or toy will only create unnecessary stress and unhappiness. By not complaining about things on their face and by being flexible to their ideas with a smiling face, families can create a wonderful happy vacation that will leave a long lasting memory!

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After all when adults want to enjoy their vacation without limits and restrictions pushed on them, why expect them from children? :)

Check out Club Mahindra's initiative of Teddy travelogues (http://membership.clubmahindra.com/TeddyTravelogues/index.html), wonderful travel stories as experienced and written by children.

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PS: This blog post was written as part of IndiBogger topic "Teddy Travelogues"

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