Things to consider when planning a vacation with or without your children.
1. Vacations are not mandatory
Talk with your family about it. Explain age appropriately that this year they're not going. Maybe plan camping out in the back yard this year or day trips instead.
2. Is it more important for you and your partner to get away and reconnect than to have a family vacation?
Remember when things are good with you and your partner then things with kids are easier.
3. Do not feel bad for not bringing the kids
We all work hard, maybe they can go next year.
4. Plan your vacations with the age of your children in mind.
5. Many times infants have a hard time sleeping somewhere new.
If you're going to use a pack in play, start practicing sleeping in it now. Bring your sheets for it so it smells the same.
6. Remain calm because babies feed off of our stress
Have an agreement with your family, spouse, in-laws that if things aren’t going well you will go back to the room.
7. Don’t plan late dinners if your kids normally eat at 6pm
Plan to wait in lines. Have snacks, toys etc. to help with the long waits.
8. Remember the basics — Children are cranky when hungry, tired or have dirty diapers
Most older children have the same issues. So do adults, minus the dirty diapers.
9. Monitor their fun and encourage children to take good care of themselves
Eat well, drink plenty of water, and use sunscreen.
10. Ask them
“Do you need to take good care of yourself, what does that look like?”
11. We are responsible for the basics especially with babies
Think of that when booking trips. Am I willing to go sit in the room for 2 hours for Little Jacob to take a nap everyday if necessary?
12. Older kids should not require lots of money while on vacation
Plan the fun things to do and talk about ahead of time. Then there aren’t surprises when you say no to thing they ask for. Children wanting things and asking for things are normal just remind them that you have things planned already.
13. When planning your outings talk about the behavior expectations before going
Don’t set then up to fail by bringing them to wait at a restaurant, all dressed up after they haven’t had a nap and or eaten much all day. I’m a huge fan of Peanut Butter and Jelly!
14. The same rules that you have at home apply in public and on vacation
They don’t get away with ugly talk, being rude, running in restaurants, etc.
Enjoy your vacations and call or email me if you have any other questions that could help your family run more smoothly and enjoy each other.
Kary Valdes, LCSW
This article was originally published at Parent Talk with Kary. Reprinted with permission from the author.