My family has been back from our amazing month long Switzerland trip for just 6 days, and I’ve already found myself searching the web for our next adventure! This time around, I’m interested in taking my family on a cruise. My husband and I have cruised just once and we loved it, and now our kids are both old enough to get to enjoy the kids clubs that many ships have on board, so it’s time to start planning!
One of the key things I have learned about preparing children for new adventures is that pretend play can be enormously helpful. We’ve done this when preparing to go to school, for example. If the child has the opportunity to work through different scenarios, and to imagine what the trip will be like, then it is less likely that the child will be overwhelmed by all the change quite so quickly.
Playmobil has just released a Cruise Ship, and it’s the perfect play and learning tool to use with your children in the months leading up to your sail date. We were sent the product to check out and it has prompted so much great discussion and excitement about cruising! As we built the ship together (it’s time intensive, but not difficult, if that makes sense) we talked about just how huge a cruise ship really is, and how many levels there are. When my girls realized that cruise ships have pools on them, they were really hooked and wanted to see for themselves.
So we started watching YouTube videos I could find about the ship that I’ve cruised on before, and when we determine which cruise we are going to take, I’ll show them videos of that ship, as well.
The Playmobil ship also has a boarding staircase, which can help children understand more about the process of getting on and off the ship. It’s a great idea to play out those events so that they know that from time to time, there’s a bit of waiting and queuing required.
I’d also suggest role playing getting lost on the ship and experiencing seasickness. Those are some unpleasant happenings that could come to pass, so it’s a good idea to get a game plan together now with your kids.
Another fun thing to practice: enjoying all that yummy food! From soft serve ice cream to all-you-can-eat pizza, cruise ships are like a dream come true for kids.
Finally, practice spending time on the ship with other kids. Parents will likely want to take advantage of the kids clubs that most ships offer, and it’s a good idea to get your children really excited about the time they will be spending making new friends, especially if they are a bit shy and might not like being surprised with that info once on the ship.
By spending time with your child pretending to be on a cruise before you actually go, you can help them feel more in control of the situation and more empowered to know what’s going to happen and why it’s not scary, but SUPER awesome.
I‘d love to hear any tips you might have for how to help a child get mentally prepared for their first cruise!