Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Montreal with Kids

One of the items on my bucket list is to see all the provinces of Canada. Last month we went to Quebec for the first time, ever.  I had heard from others that Montreal was beautiful, especially Old Montreal.  Of course, I had to check this out for myself.

Turns out, when you tell people you are going to Montreal with small kids, they think you are a little crazy.  But I never said we were a normal family, so regardless of people's reactions, we took the kids anyways. ;)

I really didn't feel like it was a big deal, until we did something like taking the kids on the subway, and I couldn't find another kid around.  So yeah, maybe it's not the norm, but our kids will tell you how much fun they had experiencing new things!

Waiting to take their first ever subway ride!
So, here are my tips for going to Montreal with kids.

1.  pack a lot of snacks.  We spent a lot of time walking in Old Montreal.  It is absolutely beautiful there.  The kids thought it was the coolest thing that they could walk down the middle of the road.  But finding kid-friendly food proved to be more difficult.  There were tons of fancy and expensive dining options, but basic kid-friendly fare was hard to come by.  We eventually found a McDonald's, but it took us a lot of time.

2.  Mix up adult activities and kid activities.  Our kids are used to doing things on vacation that are enjoyable for the whole family, so they appreciate things such as beautiful scenery, interesting architecture, or hiking on trails.  But after making them walk for a while, we decided it was time to have an activity geared mainly for kids.  We took them to the science center, which I would have never done if it was just my husband and I, but I knew they were reaching their limit of activities geared more to adults and decided it was time for an activity that would really speak to them.

3.  Don't stress about a schedule.  Don't overbook your vacation.  When it comes to kids, interruptions come up constantly.  A child needs a band aid, someone had a potty accident, their little feet need a break, etc.  If you have high expectations of what you expect from the trip, you may find yourself disappointed and frustrated with your kids.  Leave lots of room for flexibility.

4.  Bring a stroller, even if your kids are a little older.  My youngest is three so naturally we brought a stroller.  But it turned out that my 6 year old ended up with a fever the whole trip and couldn't walk very far.  So, the three year old ended up walking, and the 6 year old ended up in the stroller for most of the trip.  I was very thankful for that stroller.

5.  Be clear with your children on expectations.  I really wanted to take a tour of Notre-Dame Basilica.  Before we went in, I sat down with the kids and explained to them the importance of being quiet in the church, and not running around.  They knew it was expected, and they were very quiet as we admired the architecture of the church.  Near the end they were getting a little antsy, and we took that as our cue to make our way towards the exit, but they lasted more than long enough in the church and were respectful the whole time.
Inside Notre Dame Basilica

6.  Don't push them too late.  Overtired kids means cranky kids.  No vacation is fun when the kids are cranky.  We retired to the hotel shortly after dinner each night, allowing the kids to get a good night's sleep.

Bottom line, taking your kids on vacation can be a lot of fun.  Just don't expect it to be the same as if you went without kids.  Montreal was a blast, but we definitely weren't wining and dining in Old Montreal and enjoying the night scene!  Instead, we have created lasting memories with our children, and hope that they will cherish these trips that we take!

What about you? Do you prefer to vacation with your kids or on your own, or just with your significant other?  Maybe you prefer to go with a group of girlfriends?

Peace & Love! :)

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