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Going on Holiday with Children
| Ideas for Children in Rome |Tips on Traveling with children |
If you've got children with you then a little strategy might be in order.
Try visiting when it's not too hot, easier said than done given children's holidays!
Same tip applies to the hot hours of the day, you might try to shift your habits to continental style afternoon siestas in order to take better advantage of the cool evenings.
You might go for an apartment out of town rather than a hotel. Preferably with pool. This will also give you a chance to take a day or two out to visit a variety of places such as the beach…. It will also allow you to balance your food quality and control your spend.
You might try allowing each family member in turn to be in charge of what you're going to do for each given day. Rome's tight streets aren't ideal for walking around with children who aren't keen on being dragged around. Let them drag you around a little. They might even enjoy the map reading!
The Villa Borghese park can be pretty good fun as there are a number of activities to be had there, including hiring bikes, rickshaws, boating and visiting the Zoo called Bioparco) . You can eat at the Zoo too.
A picnic isn't a bad idea either, see our coffee bar article below there's one there which will actually prepare you a proper picnic hamper! Ice creams are always a good favourite pick-me-up although you can't quite make a day of eating ice-cream.
Pizza for lunch hardly requires introduction. Not a healthy staple diet but now and again…
Fast food – In fact "Fast food" was an ancient Roman invention
but home from home might be a good way of allowing the children feel back in
control of the situation. A number of McDonald’s restaurants managed to
break into the city centre a handful of years ago although their signs have
to be in keeping with the area’s good appearance. Try the one near Piazza
A further solution can be from the smaller food shops called Alimentari: you can generally ask them to make you sandwiches panini there on the spot out of the breads, cheeses and hams on display. It’s a good way of trying something new.
Depending on the children's interest you might find a suitable museum. There certainly isn't a lack of them. The Vatican museum has a seriously good stash of ancient Egyptian mummies for example. The animal sculptures room can also be interesting. A further possibility is going to see ancient Roman artillery and weapons (a favourite of the boys).
There's a children's museum called "Explora" a few hundred meters straight out of the Piazza del Popolo gate of Rome on the via Flaminia no.80. Contains fire engines, hospital stuff and mock supermarket, postal service etc + a variety of children's climbing frames, swings and so on. The restaurant's not bad either.
The Auditorium: I'm told that the Auditorium has some special musical events for children and that it also has some areas where children may be left whilst others attend the concerts…. You'll require public transport as it's in a relatively modern part of town outside to the north side of the Piazza del Popolo.
There's punch and judy (or there should be) on the Gianicolo hill park.
Take the children shopping: eg Disney store near the Spanish steps.
Buy the children their own cameras. Even the throw-away ones will do. Perhaps if they had a specific project, like collecting column and arch styles or seeing all the ancient circuses…
Obviously the age of the child or children traveling makes a great difference to how the holiday might be organised. In any case, here are a few ideas on how to make it a very successful holiday:
First suggestion is to allow for some spontaneity. Most children love a sense of exploration and discovery. Let them feel that it is their holiday as well as yours and that they too have a hand in determining the outcome.
It may seem obvious but asking the villa owner or someone who knows the area before you start your holiday may give you some tips for things which may be particularly interesting for your children.
Restrict car travel to when the children are less energetic and awake. That way they will not tend to feel they are imprisoned. Take frequent stops and if possible have a run around during those stops. Make each stop a worthwhile break with something more than just a pause on the way to "X".
Renting property with amenities which allow the children to enjoy themselves on their own. Usually this implies a property with pool, but this is not the only option. Remember that what you are looking for is fun for the children and a pool is not the only way. In fact other amenities may be more interesting and innovative, adding something new for the whole family to enjoy. An example might be access to a Boules pitch, croquet, badmington. Whatever. In fact it is usually children who will stay in the pool for hours whilst parents will start to feel cold and tired. Why not look for local amenities which are fun and keep the family united?
Organise the holiday well in advance involving the children from the very beginning. Encourage them to explore and find out about the area and in particular find out about things they may personally be interested in. Their personal interests may therefore be included as part of the itinerary. Perhaps a day for mum, a day for dad, and a day for children is a good way of doing it....
Think of things related to the holiday which the children may already get on with whilst at home. For example, if they have a research project at school then a theme related to the area you are going to on holiday might be appropriate. It may make visiting that much more interesting. Try contacting their teacher at school, he or she may be able to introduce an element of the oncoming holiday into their class work.
Children can sometime feel a little lonely or wish to meet other children. This may be easier if in stead of a pool you were to have access to local amenities, the sea side or lake/summer resort. Children are not always too worried about speaking the right language.
Contact the property owner (us). Perhaps they/we could put you in touch with a local school to find a pen pal. The children could learn something about the area through the eyes of someone their own age and even make a friend. Most Italian and French children learn English as a language at school.
Food: perhaps the children could be involved in choosing the menu or meals for particular days (if you are cooking rather than going to a restaurant). Even going to the supermarket can be made fun if the products on the shelves are new to you. Why not ask us to help you with the odd recipe? Decide what sort of thing the children like and then try to find a local dish which is both new but at the same time likely to please their palate.
I am sure there are a number of other tips. The ones above are a collection of the ones we have been given by past guests or friends. In any case we have collected a selection of web site links where you can find further thoughts and ideas with regards to traveling with children.
Links to "traveling with children" web sites.
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