Planning a kid friendly vacation that everyone will enjoy can be tricky when you have young children. Taking children to do certain activities before they’re old enough to enjoy them can be disastrous. When you’re trying to decide if your child is old enough to visit certain landmarks, conduct some research ahead of time to help you make the best decision about whether or not your child is really old enjoy the sights.
How Much Walking is Involved?
Whether you’re itching to see the Grand Canyon or you want to check out Yellowstone National Park, find out how much walking is involved. Some attractions allow you to drive right up to landmarks to view them, while others require a lengthy walk.
Once kids are too heavy to be carried in a backpack and too big to ride in a stroller, there aren’t too many options left. The last thing you want to do is have to carry your child long distances because the area is impossible for little legs to navigate safely.
Can My Child Carry His Belongings?
Think ahead about how much stuff your child is likely going to need. If your child is old to carry his own backpack, it’s likely that he may be able to tote some spare clothes or his own water bottle. That can free the adults up to carry the snacks, camera, and extra food and water.
Are There Other Kid-Friendly Activities Available?
If you’re heading somewhere that may not captivate your child’s attention for an extended period of time, like Mt. Rushmore, it’s important to research other activities that may be in the area that can supplement your trip. Look for other kid-friendly activities in the area and remember to have a backup plan for days when the weather may not cooperate with your outdoor plans.
What are the Sleeping Arrangements?
Think ahead about the sleeping arrangements as well. Make sure your child is going to be able to handle sleeping a different place or in a strange bed before you plan an overnight trip. Staying up all night with a crying or scared child can sour a vacation quickly.
Will My Child Need a Break During the Day?
If you’ve got a toddler or a preschooler who needs a nap, you’ll need to be able to plan accordingly. If you can plan it so your child can sleep during the day or you can duck back to the hotel for a quick nap, you may be okay. The last thing you want is a tired, cranky child who isn’t interested in seeing any of the sights.
What are the Potential Safety Issues?
Before you head out on any new adventures, make sure to consider your child’s ability to follow safety rules. Keep in mind that many parks, mountains, and beaches don’t have safety railings or gates to keep kids safe. Taking a hyperactive 4-year-old to look at a beautiful waterfall could be disastrous. Make sure your child can safely follow the rules before you head out.
Will My Child be Excited About it?
One of the best parts about many family vacations is the ability to build excitement about it. If your child is old enough to learn about landmarks ahead of time, it’s a sign that your child may be old enough to enjoy the trip. Read books about your trip, look at pictures, and have frequent conversations to build excitement. If your child gets excited, it can reassure you that he’s ready for a vacation.
Making Your Decision
There isn’t a single age that all children are ready for certain trips. Instead, base your decision on your child’s maturity and development. Be flexible throughout your trip and focus on building life-long family memories.