An Easy Recipe for Parents to Follow
Happy family vacations don’t just happen. You have to deliberate, coordinate, and anticipate when planning a trip with young children. Where are you going to go? Is it better to fly or drive? What happens if it rains all day? A family vacation should be fun for the kids as well as the parents. All of your parenting skills will be tested when you leave the controlled environment of home and embark on a family vacation.
Just as you need to follow a recipe to prepare a delicious dinner, you need to follow a recipe for a happy vacation. Every recipe calls for some basic ingredients, but to make it taste better, you can add some spices and your own special touch. So, what ingredients go into making a happy family vacation?
While spur of the moment getaways are great for singles or couples, they do not work so well when vacationing as a family. If you want to get your family vacation off to a good start, make a checklist for the trip. Include items on the checklist that can be completed by your children such as packing their own suitcase, printing out maps and getting a few toys to take along for the drive.
Make sure your car is in good operating condition and the tank is full before you leave. Save time having to wait in line to visit attractions by purchasing tickets in advance. Choose the hotel or hotels you want to stay at and make reservations.
Not only do you have to plan your route and schedule stops along the way, but parenting also means keeping your kids happy and well-behaved along the way. Kids get hungry and you don’t want to have to stop every hour to find something for them to eat. Be prepared by packing some snacks and drinks for your trip.
If you have taken a family vacation in the car before, you have probably heard your little darlings say I’m bored, stop hitting me, and how long will it be until we get there? Kids are impatient and need something to occupy their time.
Almost every kid has at least one type of electronic device where they can play games, read books, take pictures, and share their travel experiences with their friends. While those are all good ways of passing the time, they usually are solitary activities.
Part of the fun of family travel is getting everyone to play together. Those games you may have played as a kid are still relevant today. Count all of the red cars you see. See how many out-of-state license plates you can spot. Play Twenty Questions.
Kids are happy going on rides, building sandcastles, or swimming in the hotel’s pool. Give your kids some input into the activities for the day. Give them choices of what they want to eat or where they want to go first. Give them some money to spend as they wish on toys and souvenirs.
Having a happy family vacation is easy if you remember that it is more about the kids than it is about you. Give your kids more choices. Let them stay up later than normal. Let them have ice cream and cake before dinner. Remember not to add too much of this or not enough of that or you might spoil the recipe for a happy family vacation.