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MKB Bookclub : Living on the Loose {Chapter 5}

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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;

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.

Sleep on the Road

 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!

View of the World

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…

Meeting Friends on the Road

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.

Aways Time for Ice Cream

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.

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

 

 

Comments

  1. I was laughing at your reference to ice cream!!! :) I TOTALLY agree!!! I keep a stash of lollypops in my travel bag and have use them so many times to get the kids to behave- even panicked strangers with toddlers melting down. I would ask the mom “would a sucker help you? I have extras” and they nod their head as their child stops crying for sugar:). I don’t bribe my kids all the time, but in an emergency it sometimes helps!

    One time we were waiting to get into Hong Kong from China after a 2 hour train ride. My 3 yr old daughter wanted something in our bags, which were on the other side of the immigration booth. We were in line and she just melted down that I couldn’t get it for her. I tried my magic candy to no avail. The guard came over with his huge gun and started sternly telling us to get her to stop crying. I looked at him, at her, and at my husband- “I’m so sorry, but the only way to stop this is for us to get through the line and get our bags.” He finally let us through to the front:). (I do not advocate a self-induce tantrum to get through customs though!)

    • Amanda Mouttaki says:

      You know, there’s something to be said for crying. Obviously it won’t always work but I just recently got out of my first Moroccan traffic ticket with some tears!

    • Amanda Mouttaki says:

      But seriously the guard comes over with a gun and says that??? How awful!

      • Vivi took no notice of him, but I felt a little threatened because his words came out as “Make her… stop crying.” Yikes. Believe me, I was trying:).

  2. I loved the way this chapter focused on so many nice little things about travel (e.g. getting things in local pound shops, getting together a picnic with items from a local supermarket). Even when I’m in not very far away countries like France that I visit quite often, I still enjoy this type of thing.

  3. I love the picture of your son asleep at the table. I have similar pictures of my kids in Japan (at a traditional low table that facilitated lying down, which was maybe not culturally sensitive) and England (with the Thames over her shoulder and out the window). Jet lag can be hard on everyone. Thank you for the thoughtful discussion of our book chapter. As for ice cream, it is not only for the kids, I like it too!

    • Amanda Mouttaki says:

      You sound just like my husband! It always amazes me when and where my kids nod off as they’re your typical run, run, run until they drop type of kids. Scheduled napping has never been successful for us. All a part of the journey!

  4. Ohh I had not thought about kids being so different. Maybe I should just stick to the one then? Seriously though wonderful wrap up!

  5. Thanks for this fun post. I suspect we’d travel well together! I’m happy to find another family with faith in the power of afternoon (or morning if really needed) ice cream breaks.

    I also really enjoyed your comments about how different your two children are – that took us a bit by surprise. Like you, we first expected that traveling with our second would be just like traveling with our first when she was the same age. Wrong! Not only is she a totally different kid but we’re totally different parents.

    Glad you like the scavenger hunt – let us know when and where you try it out! We have made a custom hunt for Seattle and are contemplating a few more. They’re fun to put together too.

    • Amanda Mouttaki says:

      I say ice cream is the manna of heaven – it’s amazing what it will cure! Really loving the book – congrats on an excellent resource!

  6. I loved this chapter! It is packed with information that I wish I had had. I particularly related to the section about safety standards varying in different cultures. At home, my kids used seat belts and bike helmets, and when we were traveling at time these things were not even options. Not to mention my eight-year-old son coming home from a birthday party and describing how much fun they had had rolling down a ramp on the roof in a Rotoplas (big water tank) “So much better with just one person inside Mom, because then you weren’t getting kicked in the face all the time.” What is the proper parental reaction? I think I just clarified that they couldn’t have fallen off the roof…right?
    One of my favorite parts of this chapter was the list of games to play while you are waiting for food in a restaurant. These can be used at restaurants at home too, of course. I really wish I had had this list when my kids were little!
    Oh, and of course I did the ice cream thing too. A life-saver. Thanks for a great post, Amanda!

Trackbacks

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