During my last (ever) visit to Disneyland. I thought, why aren’t the kids having more fun? Why are they stressed and arguing? And then it occurred to me why – I was miserable and I couldn’t wait to leave, and they were caught up in my negative energy.
We do a lot of things FOR our kids, but how much do we do WITH them? And how much of it is really that fun for us? Soccer practice, piano lessons, dance recitals, art classes, birthday parties. Driving your kid to practice or to the park, and then sitting there thumbing through Facebook while they run around, is not a family bonding experience. Your kids are doing something, but you’re following them around, or you’re sitting there watching and waiting and wishing you were somewhere else.
You could be napping or working out or hiking or sitting quietly in a coffee shop reading the paper. But instead you’re praying for rain or a power outage, on your phone, texting a friend about the behavior and clothing of other parents and kids around you.
Adventures are different. An adventure is something you can do for your kids and with your kids. And it’s just as much for you as it is for them. It is a chance for you to unplug and be present and engaged. To be relaxed and active, and to discover and explore as your children do.
My number one bit of advice for parents thinking about the next outing – do something that you want to do. Go some place you want to go. Don’t even ask your kids “What do you want to do?”. Just decide, and then tell them. If you want to be there, if you are excited, your kids will be too.