With spring break and summer vacation on the horizon, plan now for quality time together as a family. Here are ideas to think about:
1. Share your history.
Your children will be out of the nest before you know it. Begin now to share your family history. Whether it's a visit with your favorite cousins, a tour of your college campus or the scene of your favorite childhood holiday, give your kids a glimpse of the experiences that helped shape the parent you are today. They will thank you later.
2. Share our nation's history.
Enrich your children's classroom education with visits to national landmarks, museums and historical points of interest. Each state played an important role in the development of our country. Explore your region's role in the bigger picture through local resources and expand from there.
3. Get outdoors.
In an era of My Space, Facebook, Guitar Hero and Netflix, take the time to unplug and tune in to nature. There's plenty of research to support the notion that fresh air and wilderness will soothe the soul of everyone in the family. Camp, hike, bike and explore the countryside. Learn about native flowers, plants, birds and wildlife. Canoe on nearby rivers. Fish local streams. Relax and renew.
4. The family cruise.
If a cruise is on your radar screen, this might be the year to make it happen. A good concept for extended-family getaways, there's something for everyone aboard a cruise ship. Plus, there's a cruise line for nearly every budget. With all-inclusive pricing, occasional "kids sail free" promotions and dramatic savings with last-minute bookings, consider a family float on a family-friendly boat.
Contact: www.disneycruise.com; www.cruiselines.com; www.familycruise.com
5. Rent a home or condo.
You'll have access to a kitchen. Need I say more? For those late-night snacks and early-morning breakfasts, having food stashed in your own refrigerator saves time, money and stress. You'll also have extra space to better handle naps, early risers or night owls. Plus there's more room for the whole family's gear.
Contact: www.vrbo.com; www.homeaway.com.