I wanted to talk a little bit about traveling with your family for longer than a typical vacation. Being out of your own space for longer than a week can present its own side effects. As my children get older, there are different needs that need to be met in order for everyone to have a successful trip.
While it may a little premature to label my daughter an introvert, I do notice that she has a tendency to need more alone time to recharge her batteries than my son. This is not so different from another member of our family. It can be tricky when we are traveling for extended periods. So much new stimulation, things to see, touch, eat and visit. How do you manage one person’s need for excitement and another’s need to re-charge?
I try to give her pockets of time to make her own choices. Sometimes that means splitting up for activities, but allowing her some choices really helps when there is a group activity that everyone is participating in later in the day. Also, letting her decide if the activity is with friends or on her own.
Another must is scheduling some quiet time. We try to create opportunities for rest in the middle of day or between activities. Giving everyone a break from the business helps keep our sanity. My kids haven’t napped for a few years so we have to very purposeful with our time so we don’t all fry by lunch time. We might also occasionally have to play the silent game.
Typically, rest can be anything from a long car ride to watching a movie in the hotel room after lunch. I really try to take mood cues. Just like hunger or sleepiness, not enough time to recharge our inner batteries leads to impatience, tantrums and spreads through our whole family.
Unorganized outdoor activities. I feel like this one works for both my children. This is time at a park, at the beach, or even taking a nature walk. An activity where there are no rules, no tours, no scheduled stops – we are free to make it as active or social as we like. If there is something both my kids love it is trying out a new park. So every new place we visit, we try to find a new cool park.