Ahh, can’t you just picture it; you’re laying on a lounge chair, the sun rays warming your body, sipping an exotic, cool, drink. The book you’ve been waiting to read is beside you, while you smell the crisp ocean air. The heat is delightful, and your eyes start to droop. This is how a vacation should be. You are enjoying every second and begin to think, I need to do this more often. Then you hear, “MOM, Sarah pushed me”. In an instant your eyes flicker open and the only warmth you now feel is from your blood-pressure rising. You think to yourself, “how can I avoid vacation blues with my family?”
The first step to avoid vacation blues is to plan ahead. Are you traveling during the busiest time of year? Is it possible to travel during less hectic periods? Speak to other parents to find out what things have gone wrong for them (e.g., meltdowns, forgetting to pack medications, or missing a flight). Hearing about others vacation blues can help you create “What if” scenarios. This allows you to be proactive and come up with a contingency plan before you want to throw in the towel.
Do your research
Though you may be planning a family vacation, a trip away is also time for couples to reconnect. Choose family friendly resorts that offer a wide variety of activities. Research hotels that have kids’ clubs or babysitting. Are you a beach person but your kids prefer the pool? Vacation is not the time you want to hear complaining, so choose a resort that offers both.
Though you have always wanted to tour the hills of Scotland, a vacation laden with lots of walking and wait times is a sure trigger for a meltdown. A slower pace may be in order and plan for one tourist attraction per day.
Pick your battles
I am all for following through on the things we ask and expect of our children. However, to avoid vacation blues, you may want to consider “letting go” of some of your rules. Extending bedtimes and being a little flexible regarding the amount of fruits and vegetables your child is eating is okay. Once you are back home, your chidlren can settle back into their routines.
Did you know that children between the ages of 2 to 12 are particularly at risk of developing motion sickness? To help prevent motion sickness, limit activities that involve reading while in a moving vehicle. Pack medications and natural supplements just in case. It is also a good idea to have your child shut their eyes or look at the horizon to help lessen the feeling of motion sickness.
If your child requires specific needs (e.g., physical, medical, dietary, etc.), call the hotel or resort to find out what type of supports are in place in case of emergencies. Getting an identity bracelet that has details of your child’s condition, treatment and their doctor’s name is also useful.
No one likes to feel rushed (including children). Whether you are traveling a short or long distance, it is always a good idea to give yourself plenty of time. Since traffic and airport lines can be busy this time of year, take advantage of early, on-line check-ins. Remember to pack a travel bag for your kids with small activities that can keep them occupied while in a plane or in the car. And don’t forget to pack extra snacks and drinks!
Have chidlren explore the destination
A fun way to get your children motivated about the destination is t have them explore the destination before you go. Your child can explore the vacation spot on-line, find it on a map or even google a fun fact about the location. Does your child like to scrapbook? They can create a journal or scrap book to capture their memories.
Change your mindset
Sibling rivalry is common, even when you are on vacation. When we have this mindset in place, we are better able to manage our expectations and those of our children. Review the rules with your children and the consequences that will occur. A little preparation and planning can leave you mentally prepared!
Is it possible to have a stress-free vacation with your kids? Let’s be honest, I don’t think there is anyone who can truly admit to having a completely stress-free holiday, but with a little preparation, the only vacation blues you will experience are from the colour of that tropical, sweet drink that is being served to you on your lounge chair.