We all have great plans for family holidays, but the reality is that they can be a little tricky and frustrating at times. We strive for happy memories and we get that with some slightly less ones in the mix too. Whether you plan to go to the beach, the countryside, or even a big city, there are some little things you can do to help make a memorable family holiday that’s low-stress and fun for everyone.
Tips to reduce stress on your next family holiday:
Always plan ahead
Planning is a very important part of any holiday. Take into account the needs of your kids and arm yourself with whatever is necessary to take care of them while you are away.
For example, if your four-year-old takes naps, bring along the cuddly toy they sleep with at home as their ‘comfort’ item. For your teen, ensure they have their favorite hand-held electronic device to pass the travel time.
Set up a flexible schedule for each day
When you have a day-to-day plan, kids can look forward to things they want to do. Plan a special kid activity for each day.
Work in an hour or so of swimming in the hotel’s pool each day or going to play miniature golf. Exercise keeps stress levels low and expends excess energy, especially for kids. Think of play time as de-compression time for kids.
To see some sights, consider taking a bus tour. Everyone sits down, which relieves aching feet from walking, while still exploring the new surroundings.
With kids, visiting just one museum per day may be your best bet. If it rains on a day you planned to go to the water park, switch to another day’s plans to see a movie or do another indoor activity.
Also, every third or fourth day, plan an easy day where you sleep late, hang out at the hotel, or take short walks around the area.
Expect the unexpected
It’s a positive experience for kids to learn that, sometimes, even the best planning is affected by weather, mistakes made by the hotel, and other events out of your control. Talk to your kids in advance about these unplanned possibilities.
Delegate responsibilities to each child
Maybe your twelve-year-old can be assigned to keep the eight-year-old occupied while at the airport. Or your teen can be in charge of watching over Mum and Dad’s luggage when they go to the bathroom or shop before take-off.
Before travelling, brainstorm with your kids about how to solve potential challenges
Ask ten-year-old Adam what he can do to ensure his fourteen-year-old sister, Josie, gets along well with him. Talk to Florence about what she might do to make Johnnie happy.
Tell your kids that you’re counting on them to make the trip as enjoyable as possible.
Change seating arrangements during travel
Whether you’re flying, taking a train, or travelling by car, switch up the seating every half day or so. Sit in the back seat with your five-year-old daughter while your eleven-year-old son sits in the front with Dad until lunch.
Then, change seats after lunch. Consistent seat-changing can freshen up conversations and ease tensions between the kids.
Take surprise items
For each child, pack new, unseen items to thrill and distract them from the monotony of travel. Trinkets like sticker books for younger kids, word puzzles for eight- to twelve-year-olds, and magazines for teens help the time pass.
A book about a child’s favourite subjects or even a new game for their hand-held device can be a godsend when stress starts to trickle in.
Why not apply these strategies on your next family holiday and see if it makes a difference to the members of your family? Start planning that low-stress happy memory-making family getaway now.