It goes without saying that any holiday takes a surplus of planning and organisation. Add kids into the mix, and you can guarantee that your workload has just doubled!
While the thought of bringing the little ones along on a break is enough to make any parent break out in a sweat, there are a few tips and tricks about that help you get down to the brass tacks and ultimately spare yourself a headache…
If you’re staying in the UK for your holiday, it’s likely that there may be a lengthy car journey involved in getting to your destination. For parents with young kids, this can be a fate worse than hell. We can already hear the incessant chants of “are we nearly there yet” …
But we’re in the 21st century! No need for your bog-standard game of I-spy anymore. There is a tonne of fun apps available for smartphones and tablets to keep everyone entertained on a long car journey.
But if you’d rather divert your kids away from technology for a while, we love preparing small craft baskets for the kids to document their journey in a scrapbook – put together a selection of crayons, stickers and small whiteboards with dry erase pens, and encourage them to draw the things that you see along the way.
And who knows, maybe the kids will even let you focus on the roads for more than 2 minutes at a time!
When you arrive at your destination, everyone is likely going to be very tired. If you’re camping, or on the road with a touring caravan, it really pays to book ahead to make sure that they’ve got room for you to pitch up. The last thing you want to be doing is piling everyone back into the car to find another site.
The next day when everyone is refreshed after a good sleep, everyone will want to charge straight out to do the activities that likely were the reason that you chose your destination in the first place. Most things are super easy to book online, and quite often you’ll find money off some of the top tourist attractions.
Not to mention, this bit of planning can save you a lot of waiting time in ticket queues with bored children….
If the kids see you packing your suitcase, it’s highly likely that they’ll want to do their own bit of preparation for their holiday. But just imagine getting to your caravan site and realising that your little one has opted for a backpack full of pants, no socks and possibly a plethora of any favourite toys that they will inevitably lose and have a paddy over.
But it is important that your kids feel involved. We thoroughly recommend that you try letting them pack with you by turning it into a game! For kids who are old enough, write them a list of things to take with them, and give them little treats along the way for following the instructions.
As parents, we’re well versed in the old age adage that children will want to do everything that you’re doing; regardless of what it is. Being on holiday won’t make a jot of difference to this behaviour that we’ve become so accustomed to. But why not use this admittedly irritating behaviours, and make it into a positive?
Rather than handing over your expensive smart phone or camera whenever the kids want to borrow it to take some snaps themselves, plan ahead and buy some disposable cameras. Set them tasks for things that they should take photos of; if you have more than one child, create small competitions with little rewards to help get them involved in their surroundings.
When you’re plotting a journey that will lead to the least number of tantrums, it’s easy to focus on the younger kids, rather than your potentially volatile teenager. As they’re older, it’s likely the same tactics as above will not work for a more mature child. However, with that in mind, you should try to engage them in a different way.
Get them involved early in the planning stages of your holiday. Use their more developed minds by letting them have a say in things such as where you go, where you stay and the activities you’ll do when you’re there. Having some accountability over the events of the holiday could make them feel like they’re a key part of the events, and perhaps more willing to get involved rather than squirrelling themselves away in the caravan for the duration.
There are two types of people on holiday – those who love an excuse to wind down and relax, and then there are those of us who prefer to cram activities into every minute of every day. If you fit into the latter, you may want to hang fire on your excessive event planning…
It’s worth remembering that particularly for young children, holidays can be pretty exhausting for them. Their young minds are often overstimulated by their new environments, and the endless amounts of fun stuff for them to try their tiny hands at ca be TOO exciting. It’s important to give them some serious down time too to avoid some serious tantrums…