Take a minute to give some consideration to your most recent family vacation. Where there periods of time when you wished you kids would pay more attention to what was going on? Its natural for kids attention to wonder. In these days of the Internet and video games, the average child seems to have an attention span of about 30 seconds.
For many kids, the only way to truly get their attention on a family trip is to get them involved. The best method for doing this is to give them a journal and ask them to make daily entries. Keeping a journal will encourage kids to pay attention to the things around them. It also gives them something to during long rides in cars, on planes and so on as well as promotes good writing habits.
There are famous instances of people keeping journals throughout time. Of course, Anne Frank’s Diary is the best example. In her diary, Anne kept a running commentary of the two years her family spent hiding from the Nazis. While your family vacations will hopefully be more lighthearted, keeping a journal will let you and your children reflect on past family vacations, particularly as the years pass. Nothing beats reading old journals at a family gathering and reliving the memories.
A good journal for kids will combine a number of characteristics. First, it should be compact. Second, it should have a case to protect it from rain, spills and just because kids will be kids. Third, the journal should contain blank areas for notes, doodles and so on. Finally, the journal should contain cue spaces to remind children to pay attention to certain things and write them down.
Cues should include:
1. Who went on the trip,
2. Places visited and why they are important,
3. The most memorable experience each day,
4. New friends made and contact information for them,
5. Events occurring on each day, and
6. Impressions of things seen.
As time passes, the family vacations journals will remind your kids of past trips. Memories fade with time, even for kids. By keeping a journal, kids will open their eyes to things around them, enhancing your family vacation.