Preparing Kids for Trips with Other Families

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October 8, 2015

Your child is going on vacation with his best friend’s family. Have you adequately prepared them for that experience? While the experience could be a lot of fun, overlooking proper etiquette can bring an abrupt end to the good times. In the days and weeks leading up to the trip, take some time to go over a few things to make sure that things don’t end on a sour note.

Respect Their Rules

Every household is different so don’t expect the other family to change their rules just to accommodate your child. Find out their eating preferences, bedtimes, limitations on watching television and anything else you can think of and then talk to your child. If you both agree to move forward with going on this trip, you must be willing to accept their conditions.

Encourage Your Child to Speak Up

While it is important that they are respectful of and not disruptive to their host family, it’s also important that your child feel a sense of agency. If they feel uncomfortable in certain situations, if a conflict is arising with another child or they are struggling in some way, make sure they understand that they should speak to an adult to prevent things from getting worse.

Prepare for Tension

Even the happiest of friends and families experience tension on vacation. Whether they are rushing to make a flight, confused about directions, disagreeing on the itinerary or overtired, at some point, things can get a little testy. If the parents begin arguing or their friend gets in trouble, it might be awkward for your child. It’s best to prepare them for that possibility and discuss strategies for coping.

Send Enough Money

One of the worst things you can do is send your child on a trip with another family and saddle them with the financial burden. Vacations are expensive and, if your child cannot cover his or her own costs the whole family may have to bow out of a certain activity which, of course, is really unfair. Find out what excursions they have planned and give your child a little more money than they need. It’s better to have too much than too little.

Be Appreciative

Unless something went terribly wrong, you should always be appreciative that someone else was willing to include your child in their vacation plans. They may have done things you wouldn’t do or eaten foods you wouldn’t like but, as long as they were good to your child and returned them to you safely, they deserve gratitude. Consider purchasing a small gift (a bottle of wine or a gift card for their favorite restaurant) as a thank you for their kindness.

It can be scary (but exciting!) to let your child go on an adventure with another family but proper planning, communication and mutual respect, your son or daughter could make memories that will last a lifetime.

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