Family holidays are lots of fun, but if we are truthful, can also be some cause for stress and frustration. And that’s often before you ever leave home even! Being together 24/7 for 14 days in a row can be wearing on even the most patient holidaymaker. But what can you do to ensure everyone gets to enjoy the trip? Here are A Dad’s Best Tips For Making Holidays With Kids Easy Peasy!
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And finally, it’s here! Phew!
After longingly looking up our South of France holiday destination for the past, ahem, 12 months (yes seriously, we actually did book our family holiday almost a full year ago!), for the first time as a family of 5 we are heading off to what we hope is a two week sun trap.
Anyway, at this time of year, when school’s out, we all look forward to a well earned holiday and all that it entails: eating out, chilling out, hanging out and of course faffing about….you know, sorting all those little things (washing clothes, buying the daily provisions, keeping our mobile home nice and clean), that we secretly quite like to do, busy little ants that we are!
But of course, in this false holiday world where families are together 24/7 for a couple of weeks, the one thing that we all really want to avoid at all costs is friction, arguments and silly fights over nothing in particular.
So with this very much in mind, as I say au revoir to Ireland for two weeks, here’s what I’ll be doing to help ensure that everyone has a really fun holiday and comes back with wonderful memories that will last a lifetime:
1. Help with Preparations
Okay so this sounds blindingly obvious, but the last thing you want is for your holiday to cause stress before you’ve even set foot in the airport!
Getting everyone to do their little bit is always a good way to ensure that nothing important gets left behind and you’re not arriving at the airport in a panic, tearing bags apart desperately looking for passports that you had definitely told your partner to pack (and thus invoking the “pass the blame” rule!). Assign jobs and packing roles, and be sure everyone does their bit.
2. Embrace the Airport Experience
So anyone with small (or medium sized) kids will know that airports can be the cause of much stress and strain on the family dynamic.
Even when travelling on your own, airports are frustrating and stress-inducing places, but when you’re having to organise kids, lots of bags, keep the peace and try to get everyone to move faster when you’re about to miss your flight – well, that’s a whole different type of stress entirely!
This year, we plan to be in the airport approximately 3 hours before our flight. Why? Simply because the more time you have to spare, the more organised you will be at the boarding stage, and the less potential there is for airport stress, which will be sure to get the holiday off on the wrong foot!
3. When you Arrive, Try and Relax
Once you have survived the flight and arrived at the other side, chances are people will be a little tired or over excited or both. As a result tensions will be high, people might be a little tetchy, and tempers might become a little frayed.
So here’s what I reckon is the best thing to do: Relax. Take a few deep breaths and just remember, you’re on holidays, time is not important and even though there might be the odd hitch, owing to the fact that you can’t speak French very well (in my case for example), you will get to your final destination very soon…..and everything will be perfect!
4. Find Activities for Everyone
Everyone likes different things so just because you on holiday as a unit, that doesn’t mean you’re all going to enjoy seeing or doing the same things.
So how about letting each person pick one activity that they would most like to do while on holidays? That way it should (note I use the word should) be much easier to keep everyone on board and happy, and in the process, ensure that days out are fun filled as opposed to argument filled!
5. Holidays are Made when Kids are Happy
Before you had kids your holiday was all about you; you could visit fascinating historical sites, explore, eat out whenever you wanted to, drink as much as you wanted as often as you liked, and happily laze around at the pool all day, after the night before.
But this is a family holiday and it’s about the kids much more than it’s about you. And once the kids are entertained and kept happy doing the things that kids like to do, your entire holiday experience will be much more pleasurable, much less stressful and filled with much happier memories. So if they want you to keep jumping those waves with them, just do it!
6. If You Must, Divide and Conquer!
When you’re sitting out on the balcony or enjoying the evening rays as you recline on your comfy deck chair, comforted by a lovely cold beer, it can be difficult to remove yourself from the moment and check to see what’s going on with the kids back in the real world.
But when you are holidaying en famille, you need to be aware of the kids and your partner; of course by all means enjoy the much needed rays but at the same time, make sure that your spouse/partner also gets to enjoy them too. If you need to divide and conquer some days so you each get some time to relax or catch up on reading, then do that, and don’t feel guilty either.
Family holidays are all about compromise; it’s everyone’s holiday so it’s only fair that everyone pulls their weight and enjoys themselves in equal measures.
Over to you! Have you any further tips to add to help family holidays enjoyable? let us know in the comments below.