You can fall into a trap when travelling with kids and make everything about them, which as a parent is very easy to do. You want your kids to have the best time when travelling therefore to avoid fallouts and tantrums we often put off seeing what we want to see and doing what we want to do as we worry the kids might not find it interesting. For example, Do you avoid family site-seeing adventures that involve cathedrals, museums or other historical destinations with kids because you are worried about their behaviour? As parents of two small girls, we can categorically state we have previously, but not anymore. Here are some tips that will (hopefully) make travelling with kids to historical destinations a survivable – and perhaps even enjoyable – experience.
Involve Them In The Planning Process
One of the main things to do is involve your child(ren) in the planning process. If you are visiting historical destinations with kids explain what there is there and what they may find interesting. Then allow them to include some of the things they particularly want to see in the itinerary. Also, look for museums which may interest them. This could be because of demonstrations, walkthroughs, hands-on rooms etc, anything that will pique their interest and stimulate their imagination.
We know about your kids but ours have very limited attention spans. Therefore, if you plan to visit a specific site, you may want to limit your time there and set a time scale. Especially if there isn’t anything particularly kid-friendly to break up the visit. We usually aim for around 4 hours either straight after breakfast or lunch with the promise of their next meal once we have finished. This usually works. Also, research before you visit to ensure you do not miss any of the must-see exhibitions.
Include Kid-Friendly Fun
As mentioned our kids love their food. Therefore, we normally schedule things in between mealtimes. When travelling to historical destinations with kids, we also recommend that you factor in some kid-friendly fun too. This is to ensure that the trip is not too dry for them. Therefore, if you plan to visit a church/museum in the morning, why not head to the park or the beach in the afternoon? Depending on your child(ren)’s ages, we are sure you will find something to suit at your destination.
Research Family-Friendly Events
Look out for family-friendly events that may be going on at the site/destination you are visiting. These are likely to occur around special holidays such as Easter/Christmas etc. This could be Easter egg hunts/arts and crafts sessions/plays etc. Sometimes you may have to pay slightly more if there is a special event happening. However, this allows you to see what you want to see while the kids get to have a good time. Plus they may possibly not realise that they are visiting a historic destination.
Set Clear Expectations
Our kids often need a warning before we visit anywhere, let alone places they consider boring. Therefore, we recommend sitting them down and setting out clear expectations of how you expect them to behave while visiting a certain destination/location/site. We are also not above bribing our children and rewarding good behaviour. We normally find something as simple as a small gift from a gift shop to work a treat. So, well-behaved children in return for a pencil = a massive win in our book!
Look Up, Look Down, Look All Around
Why not play games if you are visiting historical destinations with kids? It could be something as simple as a game of eye spy. This will get them to look around for the answer. Therefore inadvertently taking in the exhibitions/displays/architecture around them. Or you could ask them to find as many things that they can that are a particular colour or shape in the room/place you are. This could keep them entertained while you get to take in your surroundings and enjoy your destination.
Get Them To Keep Notes About Their Trip
If your children are old enough, why not allow them to take a notebook and pencil. This will allow them to make notes throughout the day. They can then use their notes following their trip to write up in more detail what they did and what they saw. Our 8-year-old daughter loves this sort of thing and will spend hours writing and drawing accompanying pictures of our day trips and holidays to then share with family. We find it helps her stay engaged during our trip and relive memories after.