MATTER: FAMILY MINDED
SANDRA DEE HOFFMAN, PRESIDENT OF CHILDREN’S CONCIERGE, LLC, ON WHY EMOTION MATTERS
Missed this morning’s MATTER session with Sandra Dee Hoffman? Check out these highlights from her discussion on the fundamentals of planning life-changing family trips, including the importance of properly understanding your clients’ unique needs and capabilities.
- It really helps to be comfortable with kids.
- At the very least, you must like kids at least a little. Your feelings will show in the suggestions you offer families for exploring.
- You must view children as just as important to a family’s trip as the adults. If you throw and activity into the mix because it’s supposed to be for kids, chances are it will fall flat. If you see kids as extra baggage, they’ll be a problem for you, you’ll be miserable and so will they.
- Part of being comfortable with kids is knowing that things don’t always have to work out exactly as you planned them, and they probably won’t.
- Learn all about the family and everyone in the family so you can create the opportunity for “big feelings”.
- “Big feelings” is a child’s term for emotions.
- Before you can create travel experiences for a family that will produce big feelings, you have to find out what actually creates big feelings for that family. It’s not the same in every family.
- There is no such thing as a typical five-year-old or a typical teen or a typical boy, etc. They often appear alike because they share common experiences, and sometimes they behave the same way because we expect them to. If you can break out of this kind of thinking, you can open up a whole new world for kids.
- Forming a team that includes parents, kids, yourself and your providers is invaluable.
- The team concept is familiar to most families. Teamwork is everywhere in their lives so it’s fairly easy to get them into this mode of thinking about their travelling.
- It’s easier to discuss plans an issues with a family if you and they are part of the same team. You get more honest information from families this way.
- When you work as a team, everyone gets credit and has ownership so everyone is more invested in the outcome.
- When you work as a team, there is less feeling of liability placed on any single individual. The team shares in the responsibility of making a family’s experiences work.
- Experiences do not have to be pre-designed especially for kids.
- Although there is nothing wrong with pre-designing experiences for children, most experiences can be adjusted to be appropriate for kids. You and your team just need to figure out why a particular child might like this experience, then you have to reframe what is offered.
- Change what is expected from an experience and see what happens.
- There is always a small adjustment you can make to an experience that will go a long way with families – explore for shorter periods of time, relate experiences to a family’s life at home. choose a guide who is comfortable talking less, ask questions, tell stories, etc.
- Having everyone in the family participate is very important.
- Honestly believe that kids are capable of loving the trip you plan.
- Fully believe that children are capable of getting something out of the trip experience. If you don’t believe this, neither will they.
- Try asking families to report back to you at the end of the trip about what everyone liked the best or disliked the most. You could be very surprised and very pleased!
- Believing kids can accomplish a lot really frees you up to try lots of new things. It gives you permission to use your imagination.