Fathering | Prepare your child to travel

September 7, 2013 

My daughter is heading to Jordan this week to study abroad. Preparing for this day has led to mixed emotions for my wife and me.

Participation in both study abroad and youth exchange programs has become vey popular. We know this will really help her grow, and it’s the chance of a lifetime — but we’re also a little worried about how she’ll handle being away from home.

Action ideas:

•  If your child is traveling abroad, encourage her to read up on the culture, geography, customs and political happenings of the country.

It’s important that she understand these areas as well as the safety and security measures of living in the country, prior to travel. If she’s going on a trip within the U.S., whether solo or with the family, ask her to do similar research.

•  Think about discussing the ways you can keep in touch with her while she’s traveling. Skype, Face Time, email, texting and Facebook are inexpensive and fast ways to communicate with each other.

•  Assist your child with obtaining all essential documents such as a passport, visa and personal health records to minimize the chance she has issues going through Customs on the way to her destination. If traveling in the U.S., help her think through the logistics of travel, money, etc. Consider challenging her to come up with a plan for finding transportation (care rental? buses?), and picking places to visit.

•  Help your child learn about money and banking issues so she’s prepared financially for her visit.

The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides bi-weekly Action Ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents. For more information, or to join local conversations, contact David Eggebeen at e5x@psu.edu, Mick Trombley at mick@micktrombley.com, Robert Orndorff at rmo104@psu.edu, Chris Dufour at chrisdufour19@gmail.com, or Marc McCann at marc.mccann@arrow.com. See the Centre County Fathering website for resources and information at www.centrefathering.org.

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