Allowing your child to help plan your holiday can make them feel included while teaching them important organizational skills. Talk with your child to see what types of activities they would be interested in. Let them research and choose an activity that they get to do on vacation. If you have older children or teenagers, you may also decide to let them help budget the vacation. This will teach them vital financial skills.
Method 1 of 3:Brainstorming with your Child
1Hold a family meeting. At this meeting, everyone in the family will be able to express an opinion about the vacation. Even if the child is too young to participate, just being at the meeting will make them feel included.
You might announce the meeting by saying,"We're trying to come up with ideas for our next vacation, and we want everyone's input."
You can have this meeting during dinner or another communal family activity, or you can call a special meeting when everyone is home after school and work.
2Ask them where they want to go. If you don't have any plans for your next vacation, try asking your child if they have anywhere they want to go. Younger children might give you some idea of activities while older children and teenagers can come up with creative ideas for destinations.
To younger children, you might just say, “If you could visit anywhere, where would you go?” If they come up with a good idea, you can say, “We'll consider that for our next vacation.”
To older children and teenagers, you can say, “We're trying to think of ideas for our next family vacation. Do you have any opinions?” If they come up with something that is unreasonable, you can say, “That sounds fun, but I think that might be a little out of our price range.”
3Guide their options. If you already have a few places in mind, you should give the child two or three options. Ask them which they would prefer for the next family vacation. This will give the child some control while still letting you choose the destination.
You can say, “Would you rather go camping in the woods this summer or visit the beach?”
If you have a very specific destination in mind, you should still phrase it as a question. Instead of saying, “We're going to New York City this summer,” you can say, “We were thinking about visiting New York this summer. How do you feel about that?”
4Encourage them to research. Older children and teenagers can use the internet to read up about different potential options. Tell them to spend some time researching before reporting back to the family.
You can say, “Why don't you go online and compare the different options? See what looks more fun to you.”
Ask everyone to contribute two or three different options. You can discuss them together at another family meeting.
With younger children, you can sit at a computer and research ideas together. Explain the different activities to the child.
Method 2 of 3:Planning Activities
1Let everyone pick one thing to do. Tell everyone in the family to pick one activity that they want to do. These are the activities that you will do on your vacation no matter what.
Younger children may need a little more guidance in what they pick. You should give them two options. You can say, “Do you want to visit the children's museum or the water park?”
Do not prioritize one child's activity over the other. Everyone should be able to pick at least one activity.
2Give them a map. Give your child a map of your destination, and circle where some interesting activities are located. Ask them if they can plot a path for the family between the different places. To get them thinking about organization, you can ask them:
“How far it is between each place?”
“How would we get to each place? Would we walk, drive, or take a bus?”
“How long do you think it will take us to reach each place? Do you think we have time for it all?”
3Post ideas on a collaborative travel planning site. Older children and teenagers may be able to handle planning software, apps, and websites. These will help your child figure out how to make an itinerary. Find a collaborative site where the entire family can post their ideas and opinions. Some good collaborative sites include:
4Avoid over planning. Do not try to pack too many activities into your vacation. Leave some room for flexibility. While you should let everyone pick one activity, you do not want to overwhelm the children or stress yourself out.
Give yourself at least an hour or two of free time a day. Decide what to do during this time once you're there. For example, you might decide to go swimming in the hotel pool or to take a nap.
You might want to make a reservation for one nice dinner, but most meals should be spontaneous. Wait to see how the rest of the family is feeling, and give them an opinion when the time comes.
Method 3 of 3:Teaching Children about Budgets
1Set a budget. Establish ahead of time how much your family can afford to spend on this vacation. This is a decision you will have to make yourself without the input of the child. Some costs you will want to factor in when budgeting:
Cost of travel
Hotel room rates per night
Meals for each person
Tickets to attractions
2Ask them to find activities that fit the budget. Assign an activity to your child, and tell them how much money you have to spend on it. Encourage them to research and plan the activity in a way that fits your budget.
For example, you might ask them to plan a trip to the zoo for the family. The child will have to add up the cost of tickets, look for discounts, set aside extra money for snacks, and decide if any money is left over for souvenirs.
Your child may need a little guidance with this activity. Offer to sit next to them, and give them advice on how to find the right information.
3Talk about trade-offs. If your child is struggling with the budget, sit down and talk to them about how they must make trade-offs. Doing one activity might prevent them from doing another. This is a good way to teach the child important budgeting skills.
For example, you might say, “If we go to the theme park, we won't be able to go the museum, see a show, or go ice skating. Is it worth it to do one expensive activity or multiple cheaper activities?”
4Encourage them to save money. Talk to your child about saving money for the trip. This money might go towards snacks or souvenirs that they want to buy for themselves. You may want to tell them to put away ten or twenty percent of their allowance into their savings each week.
You can use a piggy bank that they can store their coins or cash in.
You can make a shadow box to encourage them to save. Put a picture of your vacation destination in the shadow box, and cut a slit for money. As they deposit money, they will see their savings build up.