Packing with Anticipation — Photo courtesy of cbgrfx123
I will never forget the day in 2nd grade when my parents came to the school and took me out of class. It seemed so strange and I had no idea what was going on until we got in the car and they announced the news. It was usually my dad that liked to spill the exciting beans, and he did so again. We were going on a trip and our bags were packed and in the car! We were headed to the airport right then! I was never so excited.
To pull off such a big surprise without your children knowing might be a little tricky: making prior arrangements for the dog; having island clothes on your bed in the middle of winter; and hiring the neighbor boy to get the papers are things kids usually pick up on.
But in the weeks prior to a trip, filling your children in on upcoming plans each night at the dinner table can be just as exciting as a big secret. Don't give away all the juicy details off the bat. Save a little for each night. Start with how the trip came about - is it a business trip for Dad, are you visiting relatives, or have you just always wanted to take the kids snorkeling?
Planning the trip — Photo courtesy of DFID - UK Department for International Development
Bring out a map and show the kids where you are, where you're going, how you're getting there and how long it's going to take. A transatlantic flight could come as a shock to a child who is not prepared for such a journey. Share the length of the stay and little by little, give information on what the area has to offer.
Find out something exciting about its history. Did royalty or pirates live there? Are there legends or tall tales about the town or hotel? Did an important event take place there? Kids will get excited about getting to go to these actual locations from your descriptions. Do you have brochures or pictures from the Internet?
Vacation fun! — Photo courtesy of woodleywonderworks
Discuss the activities available and take a vote as a family on the top picks for fun. Children need to know that things cost money and that budgeting is necessary. In this day and age, the sky is usually not the limit, the bank account is.
Teach your child to appreciate what it took in order to realize this vacation, then engage them in the whole process (let them choose their swimsuit and pack it) and have fun experiencing your new adventure and all its surprises.