Travel adventures with extra time together is the perfect opportunity to connect with your child. Sometimes the day to day nitty gritty of dinner time and soccer practice and ball games and grocery shopping get in the way of bonding time. Once you get away on your travel adventure you'll have lots of time together.
Easy steps to connecting with your child.
Step one: Listen.
The single most important thing you can do is listen.
How do you get them talking? Try a catch phrase: "What do you know that's good?" is the one my dad used and the one I use with my kids. It is an open invitation to talk about anything.
Choose a quiet spot. Time on the train, bus, car is a great time. Stare out the window and let the conversation start.
Step two: Talk.
Tell short stories about things that happened to you when you were kiddos age. Now is the time to tell the embarrassing stuff - it will let kiddo know they are not alone in feeling less than perfect.
Talk about what you are seeing. People watch. Giggle about figuring out the bathrooms and splurge on the local dessert.
Step three: Ask questions.
Use questions like this to start conversations:
**What is the most interesting thing about you?
**If you could have any super power what would it be?
**If you had a time machine for one day, what time period would you visit?
**What is your earliest memory?
**If you were invisible where would you go and what would you do?
**If you could change one thing about your appearance what would it be?
Step four: Be open minded.
Don't judge! Some of what comes out of the kiddos mouth is just being tried on for size. Perhaps even said to judge your reaction. Do your best to just listen.
So, take deep breaths and don't lecture when they talk about all the tattoos they are going to get and how they are not going to college and how they are running away to join a band. Just take another sip of your wine and listen, but make a mental note of necessary parental discussions in the future.
Some wonderful advice to remember:
"Listen earnestly to the things your children tell you no matter what. If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big... because to them all of it has always been big stuff." Lovely quote from C. Wallace
Childhood is fleeting -- savor it and the adventures you make together.
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