6 ways to include your child while traveling
- Getting a taxi. Yes, my five year old is amazing at getting a cab and yours can be too! Whenever we go to a new city I show Taylar what a free and occupied cab look like as they look different in each city. So, when the time comes that we need to get a cab we play the “find a taxi game”. She puts on her “falcon eyes” and looks all over for a free cab then she either tells me or she actually hails it herself…depending on her mood. It’s actually a fun game and kids love it. So even if you child won’t actually hail the cab, you can teach them to at least look for a free one.
- Packing a carry-on. Taylar has her own carryon that I now let her pack with whatever toys, games and art supplies she thinks she will need for the flight. Depending on how long our flight is we either take her roller carry-on (she has to roll herself) or her Tropic of Candy Corn backpack. Before we travel I talk to Tay about what she wants to bring, how long our flights will be and what she thinks will be fun to take. Then I let her pack her carry-on herself. She’s actually getting really good at packing. I do go through and see if we are missing things like earphones or crayons. But generally she does an amazing job packing by herself.
- Navigate. Wherever we go I get a map and give it to Tay. I usually end up holding it but before we set out for the day I point out where we are going and let her “navigate” for us. Obviously, she doesn’t do the complete navigation but she loves to point on the map our location and where we are going. And many times she has actually told the cab driver where to go with the map. This is a great way to keep kids involved in the process of traveling around a city. My favorite maps are the tourist maps you get from the concierge that can be folded down to the area you need.
- Buying stuff. Anytime Tay wants something while we are traveling, I usually make her pay for it herself. Meaning, go up to the cashier and give them the money. This helps kids build communication skills with other people who may not speak their language. When we were in Paris Tay paid for her carousel rides, ice cream and water. Many times the people she was dealing with didn’t speak English or German so she learned quickly to use her fingers and body language as a way to communicate.
- Order food. On our last trip to Paris I made Tay order all of her own food. At first she was very shy but she got over it very quickly. It ended up being quite comical and very cute! The waiters also loved her so that helped. I am a firm believer when kids do things like this it gives them confidence to do other things and branch out. By the end of our trip Tay was ordering everything she needed and it was very fun to watch. She also ordered her own room service one night!
- Take their own photos. We bought Tay a camera about a year ago and she loves using it. Obviuosly I carry it for her, but it’s very fun to see what she takes photos of at the end of the trip. Cameras are also fun on long flights to keep kids busy.