“I dream of having a big adventure someday, but it’ll have to wait until the kids are out of the house.”

I’ve heard that more times than I care to admit. I don’t understand it. It seems to me that people are perfectly willing to work fourteen-hour days while their kids are around in order to live a more fulfilling life once the kids are gone.

I have to wonder why.

When I look at my own children, I realize how fast they are growing and changing. I want to be a part of their childhood, in more ways than simply paying for the food they eat and the bed they sleep in. I want to take time now to be with them.

For many, the idea of traveling or having other adventures with kids is overwhelming. It doesn’t need to be. Here are some tips for living your dream WITH your children, rather than waiting until they’ve flown the coop:

Get the kids involved

Allow your children to help make decisions. They can give input as to where to go or what specific activity you’ll do together. The more involved in the decision-making process, the more rewarding the journey will be for them.

Start early

Take your children out with you, starting when they are young, so they get used to it. Children learn to love what they live, so taking them out as young children will set the stage for their teen years. Don’t wait until they’re fifteen years old and then expect them to drop everything to head out with Ma & Pa.

Raise your expectations

Kids are way more capable than most people give them credit for. They have an amazing ability to live up to parents’ expectations. If you expect your child will hate what you want to do, chances are pretty high he will. If you expect him to love riding a bike around the world—most likely you’ll be right.

Modify your schedule

Just because you can be on the go from morning till night, doesn’t mean your child can handle that pace. Remember that it’s all about the journey, not the destination. If you take it slow and easy, you’ll all enjoy it.

Don’t miss Nancy’s most recent book about her family’s incredible adventures, Twenty Miles Per Cookie: 9000 Miles of Kid-Powered Adventures.

Nancy Sathre-Vogel is the “Mom” to Family On Bikes. Family On Bikes is just your everyday, American family who happens to be following their dreams and chasing rainbows. They are adventure-seekers and modern-day explorers who are limited only by their imaginations—and they have very vivid imaginations! They learned early to grab life by the horns and live it to the fullest—to, literally and figuratively, enjoy the ride. The Vogel Family’s most recent adventure was cycling 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina. Now they are gearing up to hike the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango.