You want to spend your vacation at a spa resort, your husband's idea of a good time is a weekend at the golf course, and your kids can't wait to test out the latest rides at the amusement park. Is there such a thing as a family vacation that makes everyone happy or are you destined to hearing the children grumbling from behind their DS "are we there yet?" while you're refereeing their arguments from the front seat? 5 Innovative Ways To Bond As A Family
No matter what age your children are, from tots to teens, vacations can easily become hijacked by whining, pouting, and full-out tantrums from kids and spouses too. So how can you have a scream-free vacation, keep your sanity while traveling with your children, and actually have fun?
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Try these 5 sanity-saving, tantrum-free traveling tips:
1. Pick vacations that will have something each family member can enjoy. No, you don't have to sacrifice grown-up time to enjoy a happy family vacation. Choose a location that will have something for everyone, such as a family-friendly cruise with kid-themed activities and lots of adult amenities or the family resort with the water park that suits mom's desire to spa and dad's golfing needs. If you have more than one child, be sure you and your partner both share some special "vacation alone time" with each child.
If you have older children, consider an all-inclusive resort that offers a wide variety of activities for families and children. Discuss your expectations of the vacation as a couple and as a family ahead of time. Research what amenities and activities the resort offers before you go, and allow the kids to create a wish list.
2. Remember that for many kids, change isn't easy. Many children have a difficult time with transitioning. For some children a vacation is simply overstimulating. They may have a difficult time with loud noises, new experiences, or may be sensitive to moving from one place to another. Often tantrums or meltdowns are a child's way of expressing that they are overwhelmed. A little preparation can help with the transitions.
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Share with your child images of where you are going and talk about what they will see and experience. They can even begin a scrapbook with images of their vacation before they leave and complete it when they return, so they have a feeling of control over the experience. Pack a few things in your child's travel backpack that will help your child with transitioning and waiting, such as favorite music on their mp3 player, favorite DVDs, a new coloring book, or a new toy. Remember to always pack snacks and juice or water; a hungry kid is a cranky kid (and that goes for adults too).
3. Head off the meltdowns and tantrums at the pass. As a parent you notice the signs that a meltdown is brewing. It could be whining, or attempts to agitate their siblings, and you know that these are the early warning signs that the tantrum storm is coming. Take a minute and breathe before you respond. Children pick-up on your emotional state and mirror it via the phenomena of mirror neurons meaning if they are agitated then you are likely to mirror their emotional response, which only amplifies their tantrum. 5 Ways to Balance Marriage, Kids, Work, Home and Health