Check and recheck the weather.
Communicate with your kids. With older kids like teenagers, be honest and talk
openly about concerns or issues. For younger kids' omnipresent "Why?" answer them
directly and truthfully; or perhaps see if they can answer the question themselves.
Body language is important too. When we tried soccer with our first toddler, my wife
and I could see she wasn't interested in learning how to kick. She just wanted to run
and jump. So, we enrolled her in gymnastics camp instead and she loved it.
Remind kids about please and thank you. Kids should take turns, wait for the group,
and help others in need. Teach cooperation and responsibility.
Prepare as much a possible ahead of time, especially food and drinks. When we go
skiing, we try to pack the night before (the kids help too). In the morning, we get
completely dressed and put on sunscreen at home.
Get the best equipment you can afford. This is especially important when it comes to
shoes or rain gear.
Try to keep some semblance of routine. Part of the fun of outdoor adventure is getting
out of the mold of everyday life. But kids like to know they will get snacks and lunch
on time; rest time is an important part of kids' days.
Take breaks for water and snacks. Just like us, kids get grumpy and irritable if they
don't get enough food or fluids. Stop and eat every two hours and have drinks
available every 30 minutes.
Bring Band-Aids (a complete first aid kit!). On a trip to Mexico, my daughter asked
for Winnie-the-Pooh Band-Aids every time she got a boo-boo or owie. It wasn't that
she was bleeding every time, but this was her way of getting comfort when she got
Bring some comfort from home, like a stuffed animal or favorite game, especially for
longer trips. When we travel, we bring my daughters' favorite pillow cases. They are
easy to pack, and then wherever we sleep, they feel like they are sleeping in their own
Get help. Ask for help from grandma and grandpa. Set your teenager loose on the
internet to research a particular place or activity. Guidebooks are a wonderful source
of information, especially those geared towards families with children. If you are
going to a national park, forest or wilderness area, check with rangers. Ask your
friends who may have good ideas on where to go.
Don't be afraid to stop, especially while your still having fun. We say "Just five more
minutes," nearly every time we get ready to leave the swimming pool. However, if
we leave with my daughters still wanting to swim, they will be enthusiastic to come
again, and we don't risk injury by continuing when they are fatigued.
Bring along friends. Most kids love having their friends along Often it makes life
easier and more fun for parents, since it gives us a chance to trade off with
FOOD FOR ADVENTURE
Food can be the simplest thing to pack for infants; formula or breast milk may be
their sole sustenance. But for toddlers and preschoolers, meals may require the finely
tuned art of coaching, or rather, pleading. School age kids fortunately can be easier. Like