How to Enjoy a Holiday with the Kids
Having a holiday with the kids in tow can be a fantastic experience. The key to success is to plan the holiday around something everybody can enjoy doing – or at least make sure that everyone has a fun activity they enjoy to keep them busy, while the rest are off doing something else. The last thing you want on a skiing holiday is Hubby and the oldest two spending every minute on the slopes, while you sit in a cold chalet looking after a bored three-year-old. Instead, book a hotel with a great Kids Club, and everyone's happy.
Get Family-Friendly Accommodation
Nothing says “disaster” quicker than booking a posh five-star hotel for a family with three toddlers. Unless you want to spend your entire time making sure that Junior doesn't draw all over the walls and Joni doesn't fall off the dangerous balcony, book family-friendly accommodation.
At the least, you'll be able to order food from the kid's menu and not have to suffer condescending looks from other (childless) guests while your offspring wreak havoc in the dining room. And you might even find toys to keep them occupied in the bedroom, along with children's DVDs or a playroom onsite.
Look online to see what types of accommodation is on offer. Whether you want a caravan park with a Kids Club, a hotel with an outdoor play area and evening babysitting service or a campground with kiddie entertainment, look for something to suit you – and your children.
Find Age-Appropriate Activities
If you and your partner used to spend every holiday rock-climbing or hang-gliding, you might have to put your dreams on hold for a while. Having kids changes everything, and this is true even when you jet off somewhere for a much deserved break.
The only way to avoid holiday meltdown is to make sure everyone is occupied and happy, and that can only be accomplished by planning activities that are suitable for everyone. Don't attempt a scuba-diving holiday with three-year-old twins, and don't spend five days at a kiddie adventure park with your three-year-old and 17-year-old. Similarly, spending a week basking in the hot Turkish sun may not be a suitable - or safe - holiday for a small baby.
Tips for Enjoying a Holiday with a Teen
Some teenagers have a knack for making themselves – and everyone else – miserable. To help make your holiday as happy as possible, follow these tips:
- Involve them in the planning. This will not only let them now that you value their input, but also will help ensure you have fewer battles while you're away. Try to plan activities you know they will enjoy. Dragging a sullen teen around art museums, for example, might be a wash-out. Planning a stay at a dude ranch or a week white-water rafting down a difficult river might be a better idea.
- Make time alone for both of you – and the two of you together. Just as you need time on your own, your teen probably needs time away from you – even if this just means sitting in the caravan listening to their iPod. Give them some space, and expect them to give you some as well.
- Agree to put arguing aside. You're paying for a holiday, and you don't want it ruined by bickering. Plan in advance what you want to do, have everyone agree, and try not to squabble over petty things.
- Have low expectations. Don't expect that one holiday will make everything perfect between you and your teen. Teenagers are difficult creatures, whether they're at home or abroad. Chill out and go with the flow. Who knows, they might even enjoy themselves!
- Invite their friend along. If you can, allow them to invite a pal to accompany you – someone you trust and like as well. It may make everything a lot easier...
Planning a holiday that's fun for everyone isn't difficult. It's possible to make your plans a success even if there's a large age gap between your kids. Consult older children in advance, make sure everyone will be occupied with activities they enjoy, and don't set your expectations too high. And if all else fails, leave the children at home with the grandparents next time!