Trips with the family should be all about fun and making memories, sometimes, however, a whole suitcase load of stress can get in the way.
Often the success of a trip can be completely of your control, the weather is terrible, everyone gets food poisoning, etc. However, ladies, there are some things that you can do to increase the odds of holiday success.
Below are four ways to make sure your trip this year is unforgettable for everyone, including you, the hardworking mom.
Get the kids involved in planning
If you’re anything like me, you probably find planning your holiday to be one of the most enjoyable parts of the whole experience. I love looking at brochures, reading guide books and blog posts, spreading maps out on the dining room table and plotting routes. It reminds me of my days backpacking.
Now as the responsible adults, it will of course be up to you and your partner to make the final decisions about where your family should go this year, but why deprive your nippers of a chance to get involved in the planning stage? Better yet, why not make a list of your top locations and get the sprogs to go away, do their research, and come up with a final choice?
Getting them involved at this stage of the game will make them far more invested in the actual holiday. Getting them interested in the places and things you are going to see long before you actually see them, is a great way to ensure they will be more excited about sightseeing when you arrive.
Believe me, a trip around the Louvre (or any art gallery) will be far more fun for a seven-year-old if they actually know a little bit about the importance of the Mona Lisa before they strain their eyes from the back of the crowd to see it. I should know, I was once that seven-year-old being dragged from painting to painting and hating every minute!
Ensure everyone gets enough sleep
Whether you’re home or abroad, staying in an eco-friendly campsite or a swanky hotel, some things remain constant, one of these is the importance of a good night’s sleep.
Nothing will ruin a holiday quicker than a family full of sleep-deprived individuals. Parents will snap at each other, kids will become cranky and uncontrollable, and the only thing you will remember from the trip is what a nightmare it was.
Knowing that you and your family need to get enough sleep and actually making sure it happens, are two very different things however. Travel brings with it unusual sleeping arrangements, strange foods, heat and overstimulation. All of which are not a great mix when it comes to getting your children to sleep.
As a mom you do still have a few things under your control. One is ensuring your little ones get enough exercise during the day to ensure they are tired enough for bed. This one shouldn’t be too difficult, just point them at the pool!
The other is enforcing a little discipline and ensuring nighttime routines, that are as close to those you observe at home, are maintained. Try where possible to keep to the same bedtimes, avoid screens in the evening, and skip any activity that has the potential to overstimulate them near bedtime.
For more handy hints on getting a good night’s rest wherever you are, head over to the Sleepadvisor blog.
Let the little ones play tour guide
One handy way I’ve found to hold off the inevitable cry of “booorrrriiinnnngggg!” from my kiddies is to let them take a little more control. When they think they have a genuine say in the day’s activities, I’ve found that they are a lot more engaged.
One way to do this is to let them play tour guide for the day. Get them to suggest (not dictate) where you go, what you do, what to eat and (where sensible) try to go along with their suggestions. Giving them a budget for their day as boss can also be a great way to teach them about the value of money.
Make sure you save time for your partner
When travelling with kids it’s all too easy to forget your partner exists. Holidays with the family don’t just mean hauling yourself around theme parks with your kids pretending to enjoy frankly terrifying roller coaster rides, they also mean the potential for romantic walks along the sea front and candle lit dinners on the veranda.
Wherever you are in the world try and find a way to have at least one night away from the kids, just you and your beau.
Many larger family friendly campsites and hotels will have babysitting services on site. If they don’t, please don’t give up, just do a little research. If you’re in foreign climes take to social media and join expat groups. I’ve found these groups to be a font of useful knowledge when it comes to discovering things to do with kids and advice on where to safely deposit them for a few hours.
Well, there you have it, four fabulous tips to maximize the enjoyment of your next family holiday. Give them a whirl and your chances of having a holiday to remember will be a little bit more achievable. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
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