Family holidays are a great way to relax and unwind with your kids.
If this is the first time you’ve packed up to go away with your children, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought of providing all they need away from home. Whether you’re driving, flying or taking a train, take some tips from experienced traveling parents to make your trip a smooth experience.
Pack Light – You Won’t Regret It!
You may be tempted to pack one clean outfit for each day and a couple extra pieces for the inevitable accidents. When you add this wardrobe for two or more children, plus all their entertainment gear, you can be adding dozens of unwanted pounds onto your luggage total. Choose a few play outfits and one nicer set of clothing, if there is a chance you’ll be eating in nice restaurants. Most hotels and motels have laundry facilities that you can use (although it will cost to do so). Spend one evening halfway through the holiday washing your kids’ dirty clothes and they’ll be set for the rest of the week.
Photo Credit : anneh632
Get Them Ready – Prepare Well In Advance
Unless your children are infants, let them know about the holiday trip ahead of time. Take your children’s ages into account when you decide how long in advance to tell them. Toddlers don’t have much understanding past the concept of “tomorrow,” but older children will enjoy helping to plan your family trip. Show them pictures online of your travel destination and allow them choices in family activities. Giving each child an afternoon to plan will make him feel like it’s truly his holiday as well as yours.
Take Familiar Objects – Toys, Blankets, Books, etc.
No matter how excited your children are to go on holiday, they may suffer from homesickness their first night away from their familiar bed. Of course you’ll take her favourite teddy bear or doll, but consider bringing along a familiar blanket from her bed as well. Getting tucked into a strange bed in an empty hotel room can be a frightening experience for a child, and having a blanket from home to decorate the bed can go a long way toward easing a child’s fears.
Be A Little Adventurous – Resist The Temptation To Do Nothing
Holidays are times for relaxing and unwinding, of loosening reins and running free. Allow your children to experience this same joyous feeling by relaxing on some of the rules of the house. Never let down on safety rules such as staying within sight of an adult and never speaking with strangers, but consider relaxing your stance on clean plates, late television watching and bedtimes. Allow your kids the chance to explore a little without constraint. Let them order adult dishes in restaurants and eat as much as they wish. Some children find they adore the stronger flavours of adult food, and don’t want to return to eating children’s bland meals. Give your kids a chance to try new things without worrying whether they’ll like them or not. It’s the experience of trying things that counts.
Don’t Be So Serious – Enjoy Your Time Away
Many parents have a vision of the perfect family holiday, then get angry and stressed out when plans fall through or their children don’t react the way they’d hoped. If your daughter is terrified of Mickey Mouse or your son hates everything about camping, it isn’t the end of the world. It’s simply a sign that they have different tastes than you thought. Relax and enjoy your part of the holiday as much as possible while regrouping and switching up the trip as much as you can to accommodate the kids.
Kids Bounce – They’re More Resilient Than You Think!
Children are more resilient than you may give them credit for. If you’ve missed a flight, gotten a flat tire or forgotten to make a reservation at the special restaurant you wanted to try, it may put a huge dent in your goodwill. Children, on the other hand, will quickly go on to the next form of entertainment. If you miss a flight, use it as an opportunity to explore the airport for a few hours until the next one. Flat tires are great ways to teach preparedness as well as dealing with emergencies. As for the restaurant, you may be disappointed but there are few children who remember a meal as the best part of their holiday. All they want to do is spend time with you and have fun doing it. They’ll bounce back from just about any setback — probably faster than you do.