Teach your kids on the roads – it’s a great opportunity! Traveling should be for children not only an occasion for relaxation and fun, but also a chance to learn about the places they visit, about nature and history and culture. And it should also be a moment when they get basic notions about orientation and planning, which will help them become more careful, more organized.
Some parents believe kids should learn these as late as possible, as they should spend their childhood in a fairy tale, with no worries or responsibilities. But I disagree: keeping your little ones away from the reality will only make them more vulnerable.
Here are some simple things you can teach your kids on the roads:
Take reference points
The kids should know where they are, should be able to localize some major interest areas. As little as they are, this will help them understand the world, truly see the places you visit and get involved. As you drive or walk, show them buildings, land forms, give them information about the place, explain where you are heading, if the reference is on the right or left side of the street – any detail adequate to their age and which could help them locate themselves. You can even play an imagination game, asking the kids to explain the way back to the hotel.
Agree on a meeting point
Of course you could never imagine that your child can get lost, but put the worse in front and think that in a moment of distraction the kid might vanish in the crowd. What would you prefer: to desperately look for him (her) in the crowd or know that you have agreed on a meeting point in case of such “emergencies”? Discuss this with your children, explain that they should remain calm and attentive and the moment you enter a busy place (usually main attractions in a city, the beach, public squares) point out a meeting place. It can be anything big and easy to see (make a quick test and try to locate the place from their height). This does not keep place of your constant attention towards the kids, but accidents might happen and it is good to be cautious.
My husband and I, we are trying to transform each trip together with the girls into a learning experience. Of course we have all the fun we can get, but we gave this orientation a great deal of importance and we constantly search ways of naturally integrating it in our travels. I suggest – teach your kids on the roads and make them careful, independent and organized adults.