One in a series of conversations with Doug Jenner.
Happy Holidays with kids
Here we are in August again – the month when many of us head off on holiday with our families. This is a great opportunity for us to go somewhere nice, to wind down together, relax and reconnect. But holidays can sometimes go wrong, so here are a few tips, which I hope will help to make your holiday a happy and a restful one.
Where to go?
If you have small children, it’s probably a not good idea to think about travelling too far. You want to be kind to yourself and keep children out of searing heat, so I’d advise you to think about staying in Britain, or perhaps staying in northern Europe where it’s going to be a little cooler. This way you’re not going to be worrying about children getting sunburnt or not being able to get to sleep in the heat. Hot weather can also affect babies’ feeding, so do think about where you are going to go.
Of all the options for families, I think self-catering is a good option, it offers flexibility and means you can sleep when you want to sleep, have breakfast when you like, possibly come back for lunch and let the children have a nap so that they remain rested, fresh and in good spirits. This style of accommodation gives you options to do as you please – and this should be what holidays are about.
For those who hate the idea of self-catering there are some excellent all-inclusive holidays which provide childcare, ensuring Mum & Dad time off.
It’s great to have ideas about what you want to do when you reach your holiday destination, but I would advise against having too much of a tight schedule. You might be looking forward to visiting particular art galleries, museums or ancient cathedrals, but the children very likely won’t want to be dragged around these kinds of places all of the time. Holidays for children are about playing, and teenagers will most likely want to hang around places like amusement arcades and so forth.
Give yourself some respite
While holidays are indeed a wonderful time for families to reconnect, an occasional break from the children can really be of benefit to parents. If you’re self-catering, I appreciate that it’s not so easy to have a baby sitter, but if there are supervised childcare opportunities, it is a good idea to take advantage of them. Having said all this, it’s also good to bear in mind that we can have marvellous fun with our children. Sometimes people can get into the mindset where they start to think of children as stopping them from having fun. If we’ve got children, we should think about how we can all have a good time together.
Going on holiday with other families
Some families have a tradition of going on holiday with other families. This can work well, but if you’re thinking about doing this for the first time, be aware that there can be pitfalls too, because there’s necessarily going to be some compromising. You may be uncomfortable with the way the other family does things and this could lead to tensions and make the entire holiday a stressful experience. So my advice would be to think carefully about this before you agree to do it. You certainly don’t want to be spending your holiday bending over backwards to please someone else – you want to be happy and carefree.
I hope you found these few tips to be helpful, and I wish you the joy of a relaxing and happy holiday with your family. Remember – keep things simple and uncluttered. If you’re cheerful and happy, there’s every chance your children will be as well!
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