You’ve waited a long time for this … your little daughter’s first vacation with you! She’s finally old enough to truly enjoy a memorable family vacation. Or, maybe it’s a mommy-and-me outing.
The good news: You no longer have to push her in a stroller and be weighed down like a pack mule as you balance baby in your arms and a diaper bag on your shoulder.
And… the not-so-good news: You’ve got to figure out places to go and things to do that will hold her interest. Otherwise, she is likely to be miserable all or most of the trip and so will you.
There’s nothing wrong with educational sites and activities. But no matter her age – or yours, there are only so many museum visits a person can take.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. However, here are some suggestions to help keep your tour from being a bore and your trek from being a wreck. Check them out!
Do some research before planning the trip – Look for recommendations, from very good sources, about fun and age-appropriate sites, events, and experiences which are available in your vacation destination. Then do some more checking. Don’t just take the word of one or two reviews. Call the site or event managers and ask some questions.
There is nothing wrong with being flexible with your plans and pursuing something that catches your fancy while at your trip destination. But it’s better to have things in mind ahead of time and alter your plans as you want so can fit in something cool you both discovered along the way.
When possible, look for fun, memorable experiences, activities and area attractions that are nothing like anything available in your home town. Open your mind and take in the local scene.
Plan together – The best way to deal with this is to address it when your trip is in the planning stages. Make your plans together. Bring up the suggestions you have based on your research. Reach an agreement on what you want to do and what she wants to do (within reason – there’s no need for you to spend an entire day in a mall because your daughter in into shopping).
What you two don’t agree on, find compromise. You pick the activity or experience for the first half of a day, and she gets the second half, for example. Maybe you’ll each learn something new about one another, and yourselves.
Journaling and sketching – Give a child a blank page and watch her imagination take flight! Whether she uses words or crayons to express herself, she may enjoy the fun task of capturing highlights of the vacation this way. Or, let her capture those moments with digital photography.
And, of course, if your daughter is a junior techie, I’m sure there’s an app for the journaling. There’s an app for just about everything these days! There’s even an app to help you manage your apps!
Give your daughter a memento of your trip – And I mean something cool; not a typical souvenir. Look for something with a personal touch that she’ll keep forever. After all, you only experience your daughter’s first vacation once. It’s a bonding opportunity and a time to make memories. Why not have something special to remind her of that time you spent together?
So instead getting her another T-shirt or baseball cap, why not buy her a small piece of jewelry – like a locket that would hold a picture of the two of you on that special vacation? Or a charm bracelet that would hold charms which spur those wonderful memories? And for a nice touch, maybe you can get matching or similar jewelry pieces!
I’d shop ahead of time, or at least have something in mind, so you can be on the lookout for that perfect photo opportunity or the perfect charm piece to conjure up those memories in her mind. Best of all, you can avoid buying over-priced trinkets sold to tourists if you shop around before your trip. For that reason alone, you may want to give this precious gift to your daughter before you leave for your trip. It’s a special way to set a positive tone for your adventure ahead.
For high-quality, affordable jewelry for your daughter and you, check out In Season Jewelry. This company has a variety of designs and styles to fit just about anybody’s jewelry taste.
Above all else, remember what this vacation is all about: Enjoying time together and having an experience together. Or enjoy some down time together. Whatever you choose to do or don’t do, do it (or don’t do it) together. The key word there is “together.”
Oh, and one last thing: You may not want to get your daughter a T-shirt as a souvenir from your trip. But … I wear a medium!