10 April 2008

How I Keep My Kid Busy While On Vacation

Ok, it's summer time and we are all gearing up for the long vacation ahead. My daughter has this seemingly infinite supply of energy while we are on the go but problem arises when she starts getting bored and I end up feeling frustrated. Last time we had a Seine River Cruise in Paris, all she could mutter was "boringggggg" (while rolling her eyes) while my hubby and I was so engrossed by the wonder and beauty of the surroundings. However, she did enjoy the full day event in Euro Disney and never heard her mumble or complain. So, when the trip was over, I thought of ways to keep her busy and yet enthusiastic about the new places she will visit, the culture she will experience, the people she will meet and the endless activity we can do as a travelling family.

Now, I won't like to make the same mistake of sending her to the kingdom of boredom so I devised ways of keeping her happy while my hubby and I are enjoying as well. This is a win-win situation for all 3 of us!

1. We involve her during the planning stages. She's already 10 and she has Geography class so I need not tell her the nice places to see. We tell her how much we are willing to spend (not that she has an idea but we tell her anyway if it's expensive or not), what we are going to do there and the amount of time we will spend on a specific attraction. For most who has younger children than mine, best I can advise is to show them pictures of the place you intend to visit. Show them some fun attraction and the things they will do while on vacation.

2. We let her nominate her top 3 places and according to our budget, my hubby and I confer on the matter. Sometimes it happens that she chooses a city which is over the allocated budget so we negotiate. If her choices do not meet the budget, we ask her to check other cities she wishes to visit where we don't need visa so it'll cut down the cost. That way, we can agree on something. We don't mind going back in a particular place as long as we all enjoy.

3. Referring to my "travel light" post, I let her bring her favourite game console. Well, most of the time it's her portable PSP and Gameboy and few cartridges. As long as it’s not bulky and super-light, thumbs up for me!

4. We keep the trip to a maximum of 5 days. Longer than that will be tiring for all of us since we only have limited vacation leaves. We try to break our leaves in 4 parts spread over a year since my hubby and I are airline staff and we get rebated tickets.

5. We try as much to visit an "amusement park" first then the rest is for leisure strolling and sight seeing. Since she is into arts and crafts, we take her to museums to appreciate the famous works of great painters.

6. We let her take photos. Yup, she is a budding photographer and an artist I should say. That way, we help in developing her taste for the art and seeing a good subject.

7. I encourage her to write down her experience in a journal to while away her time. This will also enhance her writing skill.

8. I buy her one item like a stuffed toy or stationery sets or anything my budget can afford on the trip as a reward for her good behaviour. The reward system at this point is very beneficial for all of us because she works hard to be enthusiastic and behaved during the duration of the trip. Bickering is kept to a minimum with this arrangement. Nothing can be more satisfying than to see your kid enjoying the things you enjoy too.

I hope some of these tips will be applicable to your family and situation too. I know that for some, very young kids will be travelling with you and it can be frustrating at times to meet half-way because the tots won’t be able to relate on the experience. Some of my friends who has smaller kids normally wait for few years until the children are about 5 before they decide to travel. Having fun with the whole family is such a wonderful experience and a great moment to bond. Sometimes, it’s better to wait until they are all within manageable ages. It’s certainly worth the wait.


  1. Kids should not be deprived of the things they should be doing at their age. Pressuring them to learn things that they are not interested in doing won't do any good. Let them play at their hearts' contents. Let them take their time, let them feel the joy of being normal; that is, being children.

  2. Ay naku Uncle, I do let her run like a berzerk if needs be kaso we pay a great deal of money to give her an experience of a lifetime other kids her age have not experienced yet. This is applicable to me and may not be for other families out there. But we surely bonded well and have fuss-free trips now. She still has her kiddie antics once in a while...Ciao!


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