Planning a trip with my daughter in mind always changes my perspective before a trip. And that is the case with the upcoming trip to Africa as part of the People, Places and Patterns Project (http://pppproject.com). This project actually branched off the original plan for my daughter and I to travel to Africa because she finally had enough frequent flyer miles. And we’ll be visiting my pediatrician cousin in Tanzania for part of the trip. These two facts made it easy for me to decide to go.
But what about getting my daughter excited to go? If you are a parent out there reading this, I’m sure you are familiar with the difference between kids who WANT to go on a trip and kids who feel they HAVE to go on a trip. The difference can be huge for everyone’s enjoyment of the experience. Different kids are different (duh) and some need no coaxing. Those kids roll with the punches well. My daughter is that way most of the time, but I know she also likes to have some knowledge before hand.
For Africa it is easy to get her excited about Kenya and Tanzania. “Wildlife Safari” is about all I had to say. We’ve watched some videos on the Serengeti and she already knows which animals she’d like to see. But Morocco and Spain are different stories. And that’s where the title of this post comes in. I’d like to see more of the culture, markets and history, not all things she’s excited about (except the markets). Lucky for me, my friend Charyn sent me this link to a Matador post with a short video on Morocco.
The video contains a number of short street scenes of every day life in various parts of Morocco. I thought it’d be good for Sabrina to get an idea of things she might be seeing. And then we saw the cats. Cats! She loves animals and especially the cute, furry kind. Not just one shot of a cat but there are two distinct shots with cats. It had never occurred to me to point out the common place bits of life that are the thousands of miles from home. Seeing those cats kept her engaged and interested in the rest of the video, short as it may be.
That video now has me looking for more instances of her everyday life here that we may experience over there. Some the same, some vastly different. But in all cases, I believe the more she sees these things (without flooding her with too much), the more comfortable she’ll be about traveling 9,000 miles from home for a month.
Knowing that I don’t know everything (no, really! 🙂 )I’m wondering what the Moms and Dads reading this do when preparing their child(ren) for a long trip abroad? Or any trip, for that matter. Have you found one form of introducing the foreign culture and landscape better for your children than another? Is there something they wish they had known before they left?