by Tara Bone, contributing writer
Summer is just around the corner. As you make summer plans, consider taking your family to a metropolitan area. Perhaps you have family living in a city and have frequent flyer miles waiting to be used. Metropolitan areas provide unique opportunities for kids to learn more about the world and themselves. Last year our family with three boys, ages 10, 8 and 4, experienced New York City (NYC) for the first time together.
My adventures in the Big Apple began 13 years ago. To say I was overwhelmed on that first trip is an understatement, but I channeled my inner Mary Tyler Moore and got to know the city during subsequent visits. Traveling there recently with my boys took some know-how, and, as a New Yorker looked at me with bewilderment and said, “three boys?” I knew I had to be brave. If this frugal Idaho girl with three boys can do a successful NYC trip, so can you.
Why take kids to NYC, or any big city?
If you want your children to experience history, culture, art, music, theater and architecture, then a city like NYC is the place to explore. I was surprised before our trip when people asked, “Won’t the kids get bored there?” and, “Aren’t you worried about what they’ll see?” You may get these questions too, but don’t be intimidated by them. First of all, there is something for every child in a city if you know where to go, and, second, whining is nothing a well-stocked backpack can’t handle.
The second question got me thinking. Sooner than I’d like, my sons will go out into the world on their own. I want them to appreciate the world’s diversity and not be afraid of it or the sheer chaos of it all. Let’s face it, even though we love our chickens and goats at home, there’s not a whole lot going on. Knowing there’s a big world out there helps them put day-to-day set backs into perspective. Seeing that, unfortunately, not everyone has a warm place to sleep, helps them feel the need to reach out and help others.
You really don’t know what you’ll see in a city of millions of people. Prepare your kids for things they don’t typically see in Cache Valley. You may run into the singing cowboy in Times Square who wears nothing but cowboy boots, tighty-whities and a guitar, but look at the adventure as an opportunity to talk about your family’s values and how to respect others. I should say here that we didn’t see anything traumatizing in The Big Apple; it was a trip of a lifetime!
See the related article, “Big Apple Travel Tips” here!