Would you like to open your child’s mind to new experiences? Then you’ll want to take them travelling. Travelling with pre-teens (children aged 9 to 12) can be both an exciting and challenging experience. Children at this age are becoming more independent and have specific interests and preferences. It’s important to plan a trip that will be enjoyable for them and for you. By being mindful of their needs, interests, and moods, you’ll be able to create an unforgettable adventure for everyone in the family.
Include Them in your Planning
Your tween is starting to crave more autonomy, so it is important to include them in the planning. Encourage your child to learn about your trip/outing before you go. You can do this with books, YouTube videos, and travel guides. Your tween will feel included and important and be able to choose venues that interest them.
Another great way to make them feel important is to give them a camera to take their own photos. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but your child will be excited to learn and show people photos of their trip. It will make the outing more memorable as well.
Your 9- to 12-year-old is old enough to know what they want and communicate it effectively. This is especially true if they’ve been learning about the place you’re visiting. Let them choose between going to a museum or seeing a play, for example. Or going snorkelling instead of fishing.
Pack Snacks and Medications
Pack food and basic medicines for the trip. You never know when you’re travelling how long it will be between meals or how long it will take to get served at a restaurant. By bringing snacks, you’ll never be stuck with a hangry pre-teen on a trip. Don’t forget the common medicines, too, like headache, allergy, and motion sickness medications, which can be difficult to find when you’re on the go.
Travel time, meals, and quiet moments can take up a lot of your travels. Make sure you have things to do. A deck of cards for restaurant wait times, a tablet with their favourite shows, and a good book are great ways to keep your tween occupied while travelling. Children love to celebrate, and your pre-teen is no different. Bring some things to do that are out of the ordinary, like a favourite candy or markers that they’re not usually allowed to use.
Ensure your pre-teen has your contact information and where you’re staying locally. This is a good time for them to learn your phone number and address by heart. In case of emergency or separation, discuss your plan.
Be clear about expectations upfront. Establish boundaries and behaviour expectations before you go, and don’t be afraid to remind your pre-teens of them. It’s never too early to let your child know that with independence comes responsibility.
Although your pre-teen is old enough to have deep interests and to pay attention for longer periods of time, remember that they’re kids still. Leave room for breaks, plan Bs, and cranky kids.
Most importantly, remember to have fun. Travelling with your kids is an opportunity to make memories that will last a lifetime.