When planning your family vacation, there is much for you to do and think about.
You will be considering your budget and working out affordable destinations that won’t break the bank. You will be looking at your luggage situation, and figuring out whether the kitchen sink might actually fit into one of your bags after all. And you will need to renew your passports, buy travel insurance, and more. Important things all, but there is something you must never ever forget when you’re thinking about your vacation. And that is this:
Don’t forget the kids!
And no, we don’t mean accidentally leaving them at home in some sort of Home Alone style mishap. Rather, don’t forget about your children’s needs and what might make them happy on your family vacation. You see, it ultimately boils down to this:
When your kids are happy, you will be happy!
It’s true, as you might only have to suffer their tantrums and complaints otherwise.
With the above in mind then, here are some very simple ways to keep your kids happy on a family vacation.
#1: Keep your kids in mind when choosing your travel destination
Here’s the thing. You don’t need to head to Disney World or any other place that is geared specifically towards the younger members of your family (or the young at heart) Most destinations will have something of interest for your children, so you aren’t limited for choices. Check out our list of family holiday destinations for a few worthy examples. However, when thinking about where to go, you need to factor a couple of things into your decision-making.
Firstly, there does need to be some entertainment value for them; otherwise, you are guaranteed to hear those infernal two words, “I’m bored” when you are moving from place to place. And secondly, you need to consider a place where you aren’t going to get stressed with them, as this will make both them and you miserable.
So, picking a place overcrowded with tourists and where your kids are guaranteed to get lost isn’t such a good idea. Think about these things then, use the tips you find scattered around our website to help you make the right decision. First, you can start with our travel safety tips for kids post!
#2: Find ways to entertain your kids during your travels
The last thing you want to happen when you’re sat on a long haul flight is for your kids to become distracted or bored. Not only will they regale you with that less than wonderful question, “are we there yet,” but they might also get up to mischief, which you will soon discover when the plane suddenly starts to plummet should they have found their way into the cockpit!
To keep them happy then, ensure they have plenty of things to do. There are a few ideas here, so have a look, and then think of other things you can do, be you travelling in plane, car, coach, etc. to occupy your kids during a long journey.
#3: Let your kids bring their gadgets
Okay, now for some of you, this will be a no-no. A family holiday is all about being together, so you might not want your kid’s phones or tablets getting in the way of your hoped-for bonding time. And that’s fair enough; we get it! However, you might still allow your children their various devices when travelling. Linking back to our previous point, this is one way to keep your children entertained on a long journey.
You might also allow your children a little screen time when on vacation, especially of an evening when you and they are in need of some alone time. Teenagers travelling especially will welcome the opportunity to stay in touch with friends to talk to and share their holiday snaps. Still, you don’t want your children to be glued to their screens 24/7, so while you might allow them some time with their various smart devices, you should still set a limit on when and for how long they should be used.
#4: Get out of work mode
Of course, you might be the person forever glued to your smartphone or tablet on vacation. If you’re forever checking work emails, making or receiving work calls, or actually spending time in your hotel room working instead of relaxing with your family, then you might have cause to upset your kids. Not only will they be missing out on quality time with you, but they might also be missing out on the many wonderful experiences that would otherwise be afforded to them if you were able to snap out of work mode for a while.
And besides, what are you doing working anyway? It’s your vacation too! So, if this point relates to you, remember to turn your phone off when you’re with your kids, and spend time being ‘fun mom’ instead of boring old ‘work mom or work dad!’
#5: Slow down occasionally
When you’re planning your daily itineraries, don’t overcram them with things to do. You will then spend more time rushing from place to place, and consequently, you will be rushing your kids along too. This will cause them to get tired and cranky, and when they then start to drag their feet in protest, you will make their life more of a misery when you’re telling them to ‘hurry up’ or ‘get a move on.’ For their sake and your own, slow down. Plan to do less each day, as this will give you more time to relax and experience the blessings that might be around you. Your children will be happier too, as they might have time to have a little bit of fun, instead of feeling stress because they are forever being pulled along from A to B.
Family vacations can be stressful, but they become less-so when you focus on the needs of your children. Consider our suggestions then, and factor them into your family life when you’re next planning a vacation. This way, not only will you keep your children happy, but you will be happy too when you have managed to successfully bond with them when you’re away.