That translates well to virtual vacations. Focus on being present and giving little ones a break from being questioned or told what to do. Even just packing for an imaginary trip can be entertaining and educational. Stewart suggests showing your kids that you’re along for their ride: “Agree and affirm. Say: ‘You tell me what to do.’”

Balance Structure With Freedom
Stewart says that, unlike younger siblings, “middle-school kids really like rules and structure, and they get a lot of reward out of that.” Start by watching a show or movie set in an interesting destination. Then help them think through and research the different aspects of a trip to that place. How would you get there? What would you do? What would you eat?

Teenagers, meanwhile, crave independence, and often resist family trips because they can’t be with their friends and won’t be in charge. “Let them plan the best trip ever,” Stewart recommends. “It could be an even more fun trip than would be allowed in real life.” Let them fantasize about inviting friends and plan what they’d do together. You could even give them a theoretical budget to work with. In this case, the trip exists purely in their heads, but if you’re brave, offer to take inspiration from their plans once real-life travel is allowed again.

Work Together
Virtual travel gives you a chance to figure out how to make decisions collaboratively, which in turn can build resilience, says Madeline Levine, a psychologist and author of the new book Ready or Not: Preparing Our Kids to Thrive in an Uncertain and Rapidly Changing World (Harper; $20). You can sit down together and decide where to go, taking turns articulating ideas, asking questions, and listening.

Take your family’s passions into account, too. “If your family likes to cook, make the food from a country you want to visit,” Levine says. (Even procuring the right ingredients online can be educational.) If the family likes to talk, each member gets 15 minutes at the dinner table to discuss a destination they’d like to visit. Readers can buy books related to a destination to learn more about it (the Tiny Travelers series for 5- to 6-year-olds, for example) or borrow them from e-libraries.

Still, families don’t always share the same passion points. Cultural institutions can be a great source of ideas and activities for armchair travel. Among the more entertaining options, the Asia Society Texas has created a series of at-home lessons for kids about different Asian countries, the Goethe Institute has a guide to German TV series you can stream in the U.S., and the French Institute Alliance Française in New York is hosting language and other events on Zoom.

Turn to Travel Companies
Lia Batkin, co-founder of the New York-based travel consultancy In the Know Experiences, has been helping some of her clients “visit” destinations while in quarantine by sharing links to online tours and experiences with them. She started with one family, whose year-long adventure was postponed by the coronavirus crisis, and expanded from there.

It helps that nearly every type of travel business—resorts, museums, restaurants, cruise lines, even safari outfitters—has been creating tons of free content in this semi-dormant time. Batkin has shared Instagram cooking classes from the five-star Hotel Salviatino in Tuscany, which has taught viewers to make saffron risotto and potato gnocchi, and offers livestreams featuring swimming elephants from Anantara Golden Triangle’s sanctuary in northern Thailand. The Resort at Paws Up in Montana is teaching knife skills, foraging, and fly-fishing on Instagram live; Six Senses Laamu, in the Maldives, has a 10-week Junior Marine Biology Program on its website.

Even Airbnb is going virtual. On April 9, the company announced a series of online classes hosted by locals around the world, including a meditation session with a Buddhist monk in Japan (from $10 per person) and an Irish dance masterclass (from $11 per person) streamed from Galway, Ireland.

Join the Club
Travel clubs, which traditionally offer bespoke planning services and inspirational resources for annual fees, have become some of the best high-quality purveyors of virtual experiences. That’s especially valuable for families with older kids and teens, who are pickier and more skeptical of promotional-feeling content.