Travel with Kids: Expectations

I’ve been thinking a lot about managing my expectations over the past few days.  Mostly because I’m so very excited about this trip, and in some ways I have really HIGH hopes for how awesome it’s going to be.  I LOVE travel.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  Hubby and I are already booking a trip for June 2016, and I’ve been thinking about it for about 8 months – I LOVE travel.  And I’m fascinated by history.  And I actually enjoy strolling an art museum.  I am really excited to take the girls to Europe, show them these cities with such amazing history, see the great works of art…

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The thing is, they are kids.  At 12 and 14 years old, did you get really excited about the fact that this building was begun in 1000AD?  Have perspective about standing on one of the iconic buildings of the world?  Truly appreciate standing in line for what seemed like an eternity (ok, maybe 30 minutes) to see maybe the most famous painting in the world, the masterpiece of a master?

Yeah, me either.

I have been trying to prime the pump a bit, hopefully piquing their interest and understanding of what we will be seeing.  We will go to Churchill’s War Rooms – so we watched a 1940, 8 minute, journalist made movie of the London Blitz.  We will also watch a 45 minute history channel special on Winston Churchill this week.  We watched a PBS special on the Tower of London while we ate dinner last night. (It was initially met with, “no offense Mom, but I’d rather not watch.”  I just said, “This is the only thing I’ve asked you to do today besides normal chores, it’s 55 minutes, I think you can do it for me.”  By the end, they did think the Tower was pretty cool and they can’t wait to see the ravens.)  There is also a special about the secrets of Henry VIII’s palace.  (Ah, Netflix, where would I be without you?)

I’m hoping these things will make them feel they at least know what they are looking at once we get there.  Set their expectations a bit?  Maybe even look forward to some of it?

Ultimately, whether they appreciate all the details of the history we see and every single building or painting, this will be an education.  They will be immersed in different cultures, different languages, where people drive on the other side of the road, and places with an entirely different feel.  And yet there will still be people who laugh, and smile, and grump, and are rude.  It will be an education, even if we have times we disagree on the method.

So, I’ve been reminding myself of this imbalance we will have, and trying to go into this trip *expecting* there to be a bad day, a mad moment.  To be understanding that they will tire of sites before I do. They will get excited about things I think are ridiculous given the history that surrounds them.  They’ll be bored at moments that cause me to gasp in offense.  If I go in with this expectation, maybe I won’t be put off when they happen, maybe even respond well.  And when they don’t happen, hopefully I will appreciate it.

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