Where to go on vacation? You may want to impart lessons from history or spark an interest in art. Maybe you want to show your kids where you grew up or travel to a place with great beaches. Just traveling on a plane for kids that like aviation can be an experience.
You may find, however, that any or all of these lofty pursuits end up with a big downside: your kids might not be into it. Your sports enthusiast may drag her feet through the museum. Your social media butterfly may be bored stiff at the beach.
Next trip, why not plan around your kids’ interests? Here are six quick tips!
First, ask the kids where they want to go
Find out what’s on their own personal bucket list. It’s good dinner-table talk, and you may be surprised to find that your child is longing to forage for rocks and gems in Arizona, or try real French macarons in Paris . Even kids who don’t have any ready ideas will be delighted to be asked, and to opine on your ideas. They may come up with a great plan once you get them thinking.
Next, think about what your kiddos are into
Jot down a few observations about each child. This one likes biking and Top Gear, that one likes American Girl dolls and YouTube DIY videos. Take notes over a few days or weeks, taking time to notice what your child talks about and spends time on, even if she doesn’t come right out and say that she likes them. What makes your child smile or go down a rabbit hole of fascination? Pinpoint that and you’ve got a trip to remember.
Poke around a little
Check out some books, magazines, and websites around your child’s interests. Look for events calendars in magazine, as well as ads. Use Google to search for keywords around their interests like “museum,” “travel,” “trips,” “camps,” “clubs,” etc. Is there a website, Facebook group, or other gathering spot for your child’s interest? Dig around for one. A city with lots of gamers might have a Pokemon tournament. A country with a history of textiles production might have a library of cloth. Whatever your child’s special interest, there’s probably someplace that hits the bullseye for that very specific thing.
Don’t forget to ask around
If you are already in a club or group related to your children’s interests, that’s a great place to look for suggestions. Ask: Is there a place you love to go? Is there a city, museum, or event your child especially enjoyed? What was a time when your child seemed most excited about his hobby?
Always consider every member of the family (including you!)
If you have a nature girl, but you hate grubby nature, a camping trip is probably not the best choice. Look for alternatives that suit everyone. Plan a day around the interests of each member of the family — yes, you too! Or, for kids with a bit more maturity, try focusing the spring break trip on Liam, and the summer trip around Alice.
Life is a feast
Your child’s interests may not intersect with yours, or with his or her siblings. That’s okay. It’s a great chance to model your willingness to try new things and stay open-minded. It’s also a great way for every member of the family to show how much they love, respect, and care for each other’s interests and well-being. You may never really care for your child’s hobby, but there will always be pleasure in watching their genuine enjoyment. Accept your child’s unique enthusiasms and your next trip will be a fulfilling time of family closeness and fun.