It’s true that seeing the world is one of the best way to learn and educate yourself. But, you can give your kids an even greater learning experience if you let them plan your family holidays. From around the age of 9 onwards, most kids would have the skills necessary to research, plan and budget for your next family vacation.
In addition to experiencing the world beyond Singapore, they will get the chance to put into practice many of the skills which they have learnt in school and at home. These life skills include scheduling, mathematical calculations, budgeting, economics and the ability to balance different family member’s needs within the trip itinerary.
Start by Setting Clear Guidelines
Even though your kids will be doing the planning, you should still make the final decisions around the itinerary, budget and travel arrangements. However, in order to empower your kids as much as possible, you should be prepared to draw up a set of guidelines they need to take into account when planning the trip.
Some key ones would be: start and end dates for the holiday, number of hours of travel each day, budget and any requirements to cater to family members with mobility issues. It helps if you sit down as a family and brainstorm all the requirements that everyone has and then agree to a final set which your kids will use as a guideline.
Get Your Kids to do the Research
Your kids are probably better at doing the research than you are. Have them go on the internet and research the places they want to visit. Get them to figure out flights, travel time, hotel options and attractions to visit.
Ask them to also think about why they want to visit a particular country or place. Is it rich in history and culture? Do they like the food there? Is the national language a language which they are studying?
Have Them Make Brochures
Have them take all the information and make simple brochures showcasing the different travel itineraries they have in mind. Get the family together and have your kids present their ideas. This is a great way for them to turn what they’ve been researching into something concrete which they can share with you and which the family can use to make a decision on where to go for the holiday.
Have a Family Trade-Off Discussion
Get the family together and discuss the ideas your kids have together. Talk about trade-offs and make a final choice as a family. Remember to praise your children for all the work they have done and to tell them that you really love the ideas they have come up with.
Get Them to Document the Trip
Get your kids to document the trip itself. Assign a family photographer of videographer, and get them to pick up any interesting brochures and extra information along the way. Record any first impressions all of you may have when visiting a new place, or new and interesting customs you might see. Your kids can turn these into a video or photo montage, or a scrap book.
Talk about the Experience after the Trip is Over
Once the trip is over, have everyone talk about the experience. Ask your kids what they liked best about planning the trip and what they might do differently for the next one.