Make your next family escape one to remember.

Summer is prime vacation time. But making sure everyone is happy can feel like a tall order. Take the stress out of planning with a few tips from Hannah Heimos, CCLS, child life specialist with St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Step 1: Scout your location.

“Choose a place that has activities both you and your kids will enjoy,” Heimos says. “You want the vacation to be exciting for everyone.”

Step 2: Ask for help.

“Let your children help you plan,” Heimos says. “This gives them ownership and keeps them from getting bored on your trip.”

Planning also teaches kids how to make good choices, how to budget their time and money, and how to work together to find activities everyone wants to do.

Step 3: Plan your days.

Sightseeing, family swims and hikes help you fit exercise into your trip. They also give you a better chance to talk to your kids than if you were sitting in a theater or at a ballpark.

“The biggest benefit of family vacations is that they give you time to bond,” Heimos says. “You may not be able to go somewhere far away, but having quality family time is what’s most important.”

Be prepared before you hit the road. Download the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Kid Care app, free for iPhone and Android, for advice about common health problems that can crop up on vacations.

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