Parental Intelligence teaches us to get to know and understand what’s on our kids’ minds. Taking a trip away from home provides a super opportunity to learn more about your child and devote yourself to each other.

With busy lives especially around holidays, we forget that our kids need us one on one. There’s no better way to get to know what’s on their minds, a basic principle of Parental Intelligence. Although you may struggle to make the time one on one at home at least for 20 minutes or so at a time, it’s not the same as taking a trip where hours are spent learning so much more about what your child thinks, believes, is interested in, and values.

There are various ways to get such time together. Here are a few helpful hints:

1. Plan a weekend for each child. No one’s left out and it’s not a competition.

2. Go somewhere that your child might suggest, so right off the bat you are learning more about their needs and interests.

3. Plan the trip together so they learn even before they go that you have faith in their ideas.

4. Go somewhere you’ve never been before so you benefit from the excitement and wonder of a new adventure together.

5. Take lots of pictures so you hold the experience in mind for a long time to come.

6. While of course you may help your child pack for the trip, try and let him or her do most of the work so they gain from that feeling of independence.

7. Instead of a new place, you might revisit one you’ve already seen because just together it may feel like a new experience (assuming you both enjoyed it the first time.)

8. Remember the point isn’t only to learn about a new environment and all that it offers, but to get to know each other better. Keep asking your child’s thoughts and opinions about what you’re doing together. Get to know his or her feelings.

9. Take the journey by car, plane or however to listen to your child very attentively without interruption. This is the time for wonderful conversations that let your child know how interested you are in them as an individual in their own right.

10. Most important remember to let your child know how grateful you are for sharing this time together. This is when saying, “I love you” really counts.

Parental Intelligence teaches us that understanding our child’s mind is so important whether there are problems they have to solve manifested by behavior difficulties that communicate they are in distress, as well as, good times and pleasures you share alone and together. Taking a trip away from home gives multiple opportunities for stretching your relationship, learning to value each other, know how important you are to each other and finding joy in just plain knowing each other. There’s no time like soon to plan a trip!!

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior, found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Familius and wherever books are sold. Visit her on her website:

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