We just returned from a lovely family trip to Washington, D.C. All of us were excited to visit this amazing city full of history, sights and culture. Unfortunately, D.C. is SO FULL of amazing things to experience we were never going to see everything we wanted during this trip. How does a family choose what to see, then? Granted, the easy way would have been to drag the kids along to what we wanted to see, but tour kids are getting a little too old to go along with that. We also did not want the kids to dictate our every move – what sort of parental precedent does that set? So, in order to narrow our choices down a bit, we held a Family Meeting.
Family Meetings started about 4 years ago, before our first big (read: involving an airplane) family vacation. That trip was to Walt Disney World (MY magical place), and there was A LOT to plan. Having meetings helped the kids understand what we would be doing, plus got them extremely excited for our vacation. Also, I will admit the meetings were a way to talk them into things we wanted to happen (“Won’t it be fun to get up really early and rush to the parks?”). Plus, Family Meetings were a way for us to have the vacation last longer than just the 6 days we were in Florida. Anticipation really is a great way to get more bang for your buck.
We found that having a Family Meeting was a great way to extend the joy and excitement of vacation plans. Meetings also help the kids feel really involved in the whole process, and gave them a chance to ask questions. Plus, since it was our first big trip, talking things through during the Meetings helped reduce fears of flying and being away for so long. Actually, they STILL talk about the Meetings from that trip, and enjoy having Family Meetings regarding future plans.
As it turns out, Family Meetings are useful in planning things besides big plane trips. Short camping trips, birthday plans, Christmas adventures…anything involving anticipation can be more fun when planned together.
They may seem like a little thing, but Family Meetings turned out to be a big deal. Our kids love feeling involved in what we are planning, which also gets them more excited for the actual event. Family Meetings allow us to spread excitement and anticipation out over a longer period of time, in a way extending our vacation enjoyment. Plus, sometimes even adults want an outlet to be excited for their vacation…speaking from experience.
On a side note, some of our (many) Washington, D.C. highlights were to:
International Spy Museum
National Museum of Natural History
Library of Congress
Washington National Cathedral
National Air and Space Museum
Do you have any highlights of Washington, D.C.? Feel free to list them in the reply box. Hopefully we will go back to D.C. someday – maybe you can help guide the Family Meetings we have when planning that trip!