This week I’m hosting the Multicultural Kid Bloggers’ discussion on the book Family on the Loose: The Art of Traveling with Kids by Bill Richards and Ashley Steel. This engaging book offers hundreds of easy-to-use ideas for turning travel with kids into a rewarding, enriching adventure.
You can find previous chapters discussed here;
- Chapters 1 and 2: Dad’s the Way I Like It
- Chapter 3: Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes
- Chapter 4: Kid’s Yoga Stories
Now to dig into the good stuff!
If you’ve read my blog before you probably already know that we travel quite a bit with our kids – and we have from the time they were very young babies (both had a passport before their 1st birthday!) Late last year I wrote a post on what I’ve learned from traveling with kids for 10 years. This year I also got to experience travel when it means an international move. Traveling is a full-on, full-sensory experience from the time you begin planning until you’re back at home unpacking and so it makes sense to have a game plan to get you through all the steps along the way.
Chapter 5 starts out with this very important sentence traveling parents need to keep in mind. “This will not be a second honeymoon, an extreme adventure, or a respite from reality. You will be traveling, night and day with your children.” This has a whole host of implications you probably haven’t thought about. I have to say the authors have thought about everything in this chapter. I found myself nodding my head so often. Over and over I kept saying yup gotta have patience, lots and lots of patience. There’s also a refrain of “go with the flow.” If I’ve learned one thing over the years it’s to let go of control and relax. Let what unfolds happen- even if means sleeping through dinner.
I really appreciated the section of this chapter that touched on the basics of cultural respect. Now that I live somewhere that has an insane number of tourists I really have gotten a crash course in what’s annoying and what’s polite. The earlier kids learn these things the more respectful and tolerant they’ll be as adults – and that’s one of the big reasons we travel right? If you struggle with planning your time, what to do, how to include everyone and keep everyone happy then this is a must read chapter. The older our kids have gotten the more we’ve allowed them to get involved in the process and day to day decision making of travel. Having ownership makes them excited, and makes them stay on their best behavior – and that’s priceless!
Handling bad, or less than optimal behavior, is also covered. Truth be told most people don’t think about this too often. They hope for the best and assume they’ll be able to handle any disruptions as they would at home, except you can’t. There are some really good techniques and suggestions here like when to set limits and when to loosen them. Also setting a schedule, expectations, and letting kids know what they can expect. One of the most important conversations when traveling is safety. My oldest son was always well behaved and we had very few problems traveling. I used to look at parents who put their kids on harnesses were nuts, I mean come on MY kid didn’t need one. Then I had my second son, and he was a runner. There was nothing he was afraid of and I thought, wow that harness could really come in handy…
As you can see the little guy is still his friendly, bubbly self but he’s also become more aware of staying safe while we’re traveling. Some of the best tips and hints we’ve found when visiting is from having conversations with the people that live there. But, to do this you need to be on your feet walking and in the places where people are. I love the city scavenger hunt that is provided in this chapter. It’s good for kids but it’s also a good way for parents who might be a little gun shy to get their bearings and be more extroverted.
When it comes to food, we’re pretty laid back. Our one rule is that we ask the kids to try things. They don’t have to like it or eat all of it but they should take a taste. My other travel tip when it comes to food? Ice cream goes a long way. Crabby kids? Ice cream. Too hot? Ice cream. Need a bribe? Ok, just a little while longer and we’ll get some ice cream. See my point? There are very few problems that can’t be solved this way! You’ll want to read the food section for more tips and ideas as well as some great games to play at the dinner table – and you don’t have to be on the road to try them out!
Now it’s your turn to join the conversation.
- Beginning Jan. 9, we will be posting once a week on different chapters.
- Join the conversation by following the participating blogs and leaving comments with your experiences, ideas and questions.
- To be notified of new posts by email, join the group list by emailing multiculturalkidblogs at gmail. com. Please put “book club” in the subject line.
- Share your ideas in the Multicultural Kid Blogs Google + Community.
- Link up your travel stories on Multicultural Kid Blogs.
- Follow our Travel with Kids Board on Pinterest.
Remaining Chapters in Coming Weeks
Chapter 6: Spanglish House – Feb. 6
Chapter 7: Spanish Playground – Feb.13
Chapter 8: The European Mama – Feb. 20
Chapter 9: Kid World Citizen – Feb. 27
- Q & A with Ashley Steel: Chasing the Donkey – March 6