Going away with the kids, even though a “holiday” sounds like a dream, it can easily feel like more of a “forced family bonding away from home.” The goal for every family is to have a lovely time (in between the tantrums and bickering) and create lifelong memories. There are only so many creative ideas that as a parent, you can create to keep kids happy and entertained. If there is no December holiday plan in the works, the holidays can seem endlessly long for both parents and kids. No worries this year, here are some well-kept secrets on how to have the most fabulous family holiday.
Packing (what to leave and what to take with)
Planning and packing for any trip is stressful, but adding kids takes it to another level. With the addition of each child comes more clothes, toys in every shape and size, and the need for new packing strategies. As a parent, you need to have a game plan in place. Limit each child to a certain amount of space that their belongings may take up, keeping in mind that aeroplane flights and hotel rooms already have a restircted amount of space for your family’s ‘extras’.
Include the kids when choosing a holiday destination, this way they are more involved and excited. You will find that what you think your teenagers might like is actually not the case. Also give your children the opportunity to plan various family activities together. When packing, let your children help choose their outfits, they are after all the one’s who will be wearing the clothes. It’s also important to always pack for all weather conditions as it may start out to be a smouldering hot day and the weather may make a sudden turn, resulting in rain, wind and chilly conditions.
Make your own time
Make time for the activities that you find fun on holiday. If you spend your entire day chasing the kids with a bottle of sunscreen or going to a movie about trolls, you are not going to have a good time. You need some time for your own kind of fun. If you love reading or exercising, do not let it be compromised by the pressure of entertaining your kids all day long. Read and exercise as much as you can get away with, given the realities of a family holiday. Everyone will have more fun when everyone has fun, so it’s not selfish to prioritise some time for yourself.
Most people worry about having everything go smoothly when planning a trip. However, the best and most unforgettable memories can often occur when things do not go as expected. With enough time gone by, you can laugh at the time when the airline lost your luggage, or when you got a flat tire on the way to your destination. Capture the good and the bad moments through pictures, videos, trip books, and the like, to always have something to refer back to when taking a trip down memory lane.
Technology (make peace with it)
The reality is, your teenagers will have much more fun when they can communicate and share their holiday with their friends, otherwise they won’t be very happy about not being able to keep in touch with their friends. In the digital age, we are living and working in a world where internet service is important, so make getting service a priority. Other people might want to disconnect completely, that’s fine too. Just recognise whether connection or disconnection will make the holiday experience as pleasant as possible for you, and plan accordingly.
Know your limits and your children’s
Your kids can be the most cheerful and cooperative…until you mess with their schedules too much, or make them walk too far, or let them get too hot or too cold. In the midst of all the fun, it can be hard to say, “Enough!” but it’s a key to keeping things pleasant. Although kids might say “Just this once!” or claim, “I’m not tired” it’s important for you to try and do everything humanly possible to make sure that your kids get the usual amount of sleep and that you do, too.
Unwind, you deserve it
Perhaps the most important secret for a fabulous family holiday is — remember to take a holiday! Especially given the digital age these days, it’s tempting to have a change of scenery and call it a holiday. But, a holiday really means taking a break from your daily routine. Have fun, enjoy the moment, and let yourself relax.
In a nutshell, spend quality time with the family, relax on the beach, soak up the sun, and catch up on sleep!