This May was quite an exciting month for us as we took our 8 year old daughter to Paris to visit her godmother and also to London, visiting my cousin and his wife in their new home.
It gave us the opportunity to connect with people we love but also to share all those amazing sights with our daughter which both cities have to offer in great abundance. However, what took us by the greatest surprise was the extent to which she soaked it all up.
The age between 8 – 10 is such a great time to take kids travelling because they are starting to be mature enough to fully ‘get’ what they see but at the same time their little minds are still so very curious and impressionable. Not even the smallest of details go unnoticed. At the end of each day, we had a chat about those things we saw, what we liked and what we felt was different to home and her observations were so humbling. It was a stark reminder, how differently kids and adults see the world, as children see it for what it is without any preconceptions. Also, how present they are. Testimony to this are her photos (we gave her a disposable camera to click away) - sometimes I wondered if we were at the same places.
I find, planning for a city trip is exciting and most good family guides will cover off the basics (and the rest is just common sense). However, a few less obvious experiences went down in our own personal ‘note to self’ ledger for future trips:
1. Less is more
From our experience, it’s better not to cram too many things into one day. Whilst very tempting, the little ones ability to take things in is way less than our own.
2. Big is not always most memorable
It’s not always the big, exciting attractions that impress the most. What Lucy seemed to remember in particular were some very quiet, unassuming encounters that for some reason left the biggest impression.
3. Parents little helper
Hop on/ Hop off buses are a very good and kid friendly way to get around and it gives those tired little feet a break. They are not particularly original but we found that they do the job very well. In fact, we had at lot of fun using buses all over and saw great things whilst doing so (not to forget the fact, it’s cheap).
4. Get the little minds prepared
Get their minds prepared in advance by talking about what you are going to see. Paris Hide–And–Seek is a wonderful Paris City Game book that covers off all the main areas and attractions. With the help of the two lead characters, Theo and his dog Potchi, young and older readers are sent on a joyful journey through Paris and accompanied by some great narrative. And it is equally enjoyable to read when back home again whilst going down memory lane.
5. Click away
Why not give them a camera (cheap disposable ones will do) and allow them to click away to their hearts content. We had such fun comparing our pics and how different they were.
We are planning our next trip in autumn, all the way to Hong Kong! We can’t wait.