Archive for the ‘traveling with children’ category

Tune into wireless camping

September 7, 2010

They're about as cute as they come. Children love camping together. It's a great adventure. Raising children outdoors teaches them to appreciate the planet.

BFF. Camping will do that for people, even when things go awry.

What a glorious view. Dry weather out west helps make camping more enjoyable. Even though camping with young children is a lot of work, it's worth it. Camping together connects families to the great outdoors, to each other and to friends.

Two families bond with each other and the great outdoors.

Hey Grandma, look at me! I can roll out dough with my cup. THat's what I love about camping- improvising. Camping is most fun when done with groups of people

Grandma and Bree roll out pie crust together at camp.

This guest post is from my nephew Sean who touts the virtues of family camping.

After a 10-day tent camping trip with my wife, daughter (almost 2 ½) and my parents followed by another 3 night tent trip with another family of 4, I said to Susan that camping “is a time to really tune into your family.”

There was a lot of “tuning in.”  As new parents, we were a little nervous about driving thousands of miles with a 2-year-old strapped in the back of our Suburban.  We had space to bring lots of camping amenities and plenty of toys and books.

We decided to forgo electronic gadgets and screen devices and stick to our convictions to use screen time very sparingly.

Our goal was to make it out to Glacier National Park in Montana, which meant about 9.5 hours of driving from our Seattle home.  We chose to divide up the drive into two segments, stopping in North Central Washington for the first weekend.

That drive went uneventfully as Breanna slept about half of the time.  We strategically plan to drive during nap times, so this one encompassed her afternoon nap.  Two days later, we were on the road again, headed to GNP.  After arriving in the park and the rendezvous with my parents, we realized that we had not even turned on the radio the entire drive.

We became so in tune with our daughter’s banter or sleep that we didn’t even need the background noise.  In fact, Bree kind of kept us entertained after learning a few driving games.  Soon she was asking things like “What do you see, Daddy?” or “What color, Mommy?”  Those games translated into object identification games including barns, animals, and various trucks.  So we learned together, and what started out in fear ended up in learning, listening and tuning into one another’s sights and sounds.

The camping trip had lots of outdoor time, inter-generational cooking and discovery time outdoors seeing wildlife, trees, lakes and plants.  We made it through several long days of driving and ended up with in Bend, Oregon– all without a single DVD player!

Back home, one of the biggest realizations hit me.  Breanna had a chance to really tune into us as well.  I was printing and trimming some pictures from our trip; running around as I sometimes do.

Breanna was in the room with the printer and paper cutter.  Suddenly I heard, “Daddy, look!”  I called back “What, Bree?”  “Campfire!” she exclaimed.  I ran around the corner to see the most meticulous campfire built with kindling and all.  Bree had squirreled away the steps in making a campfire during our trip, and without even knowing it we had taught her a new skill.

She had placed the paper strips on the floor as kindling and found some table legs to use as logs over the kindling.  I was excited to see that Breanna had a chance to learn from and tune into us without us even knowing it.  Of course this reinforced my motivation for always being the best person I can for the sake of my family, especially my child(ren).

We spent 25 nights in a tent this summer and learned a lot about each other.  We spent time with several other families and became more intimate friends through cooking, doing camp chores and having real-life sleepovers.

For me, there have been great opportunities to get away from house projects, computers and phones.  Road trips provided great talking and tune-in time for our whole family and camping allowed us to divide up tasks and learn new chores.

Sedating children on airplanes

April 22, 2010

Is this becoming a trend — to knock out young travellers with over-the-counter drugs during air travel?

Resorting to drugs on long trips shows a lack of imagination and home training by parents. If your youngster is so restless that she or he cannot be contained for a few hours, I recommend taking time for training and setting limits well before the trip.

Children need like we need guard rails on a bridge. Imagine the biggest bridge you can think of. Now imagine there are no guard rails. When was the last time you hit a guard rail on a bridge?

Guard rails give children a feeling of security. It’s up to parents to set limits with consistency, kindness and firmness. If your child is not used to hearing the word, “NO” to a wish, demand or request, they are not suitable travelers. Leave them home with a babysitter or relative or take time for training at home.

The younger the child the faster they will learn parents mean business. Parents must give one warning, then take action. For example, “You either stay in your car seat quietly or I will pull the car over and wait for you to stop crying.” “If you choose to get down from dinner before the meal is over or choose not to eat dinner, the next time you can eat will be at breakfast.

These are reasonable limits that children can abide by. They are fast learners. Children feel safer and will live up to expectations when parents set limits, talk about them at family meetings and encourage them. Such as, “I see you are enjoying looking out the window during our car trip to visit grandma. Good job. It’s much quieter in the car.” “You stayed at the table with us until dessert. Would you like an orange or some pineapple for dessert?”

We all live within limits, whether we like them or not. I avoid speeding because I don’t want a ticket. I pay taxes because I don’t want the IRS hounding me. I eat in moderation because I don’t want to be overweight.

Start setting reasonable limits now, before summer vacation and those long trips with children. It is possible to travel with children who are not doped.