Kids also love vacations with extended family. The last 11 days we just had a relaxed time. Grand-parents visit us and came with a friends daughter to Montreal. She is 12, and my kids follow her around like puppies, and we get more time off. These visits often shape their memories of grandparents and provide a sense of heritage.
Vacation can also be stressful. Kids often stay up late, get a bit more disconnected from parents, and melt downs can happen from over-stimulation.
You've all looked forward to a vacation of sun, fun and some kind of relaxation. Over scheduled days, traveling long hours, kids will crash and burn from all the excitement and it turns out into tears and tantrums. How can parents manage life during vacations to maximize the joy and minimize the tears?
Kids depend on you and travelling can be stressful for everyone. But kids are helpless in our world and need us to regulate the environment, their moods etc. If it is possible, share your responsibilities with an other adult, so you can relax and enjoy too.
2. Focus on your vacation
Don't work, turn off your cell phone. This is family time. Give family games - like board games, visit at the playground, water plays and just be it - a chance rather than tying to organize activities and sight-seeings.
This opportunity can give you some time to relax and maybe time to read your favorite book under an umbrella. You will be amazed how cooperative your kids will be just because of some 5 - 30 minutes family time together.
Take also the chance when your kids chasing cousins and you have your own time, it is worth it!
3. Flying with kids
Before sitting still in airplane, make sure they can run around a bit. DO NOT pre-board. Your child need to sit longer in his seat for nothing. Change his diapers and use bathrooms before boarding. Use overnight diapers, you may be lucky and can avoid a diaper change in the plane.
Bring as much as possible small games, toys and books to entertain your child. They may want to pack their own backpack. Make sure to have some cloths for changing, sometimes meals won't stay down. During take-off and landing make sure they can drink something from a bottle or sucking on a sugar-free lollipop if they are not nursing.
4. Watch meals schedule
Tantrums may originate from hunger. You may also know that too much sugar sends a kid off bouncing and maybe crashing into tears. Always carry small snacks with you like wheat crackers, rice crackers, cheese, apples or even cereals. You can prevent a melt-down while adults negotiating where to go for dinner.
5. Siesta/night times
Make sure after plenty of physical activities like a visit on the playground, water play or sand play, your kids get some time to rest. if they don't get this relax time, a melt-down can not be stooped. If they will not sleep, make some quite games like drawing, reading a book, playing with figurines, playing with his imaginary friend, board games or playing cards. at night, try to have almost the same routine as at home; bathing, brushing teethes, reading a story and talk about the day to settle down and get asleep. If your child has difficulties to get asleep because the sun is still out, bring some black curtains with you.
Make sure to bring with you those toys or games which can help him to calm down.
Make sure to take and have enough time to snuggle with your kids in the morning, eating a good breakfast and talk about the day how it will unfold.
7. Planning the day
What you want to avoid to rush around during the day. Plan just one adult activity per day. You want to reduce the melt-downs and tears as much as possible. you may need to schedule one to two kids activities per day. That may give you a chance to have a quite nice dinner at the end. Remember, you want and need to recharge your batteries too.
8. Age appropriated activities! Don't forget the age when your planning a trip. A 3 year old may not sitting quietly at the table while having an extended meal with your family. Maybe the big family meal takes place where a playground is around or just plenty of space where they can run around. If the kid is older he may be interested in a new book. Or once in a while they may want to watch a DVD.
9. Coach your kids about the social behavior you expect. You may need to do some role play before you arrive at someones place. What to do when you get plenty of hugs and kisses from your ant or uncle, what you expect from them when you arrive at the hotel or what happens when they get food served they don't like etc.
10. Most important, try to keep your kid as much as possible on his usual routine/schedule. They need the security and feel save. They are easily stressed by unfamiliar events or unexpected changes. Best thing to do, is giving warnings an explanations about the upcoming events, preparing your kids and include them in your travel plans as they were adults. They feel respected and will cooperate easily. and at the end everybody had time to relax, reload the batteries and having plenty of fun.