“Agh!!! Same stuff, different scenery!!”
This is NOT the kind of holiday I was expecting or used to!
Being of the persistent kind of character I am, I did not give up the notion of fun, relaxing, enjoyable FAMILY holidays and charged onwards. Booking and planning family holidays until we got it right (I know right, what a trooper).
Here are some simple ways we try implement to ensure we stay connected through our holidays:
Plan it out – notice when you are going to be travelling for a long time – when you know you are going to be sitting still in cars/planes/buses/ donkeys & allow time for wild and free physical play before & after. A quick run around an open space at an airport can really help with a long wait in customs.
Have a list of simple connection games you can play while “waiting” – On holidays we often spend time waiting in queues, for something to open or for our turn. I like to play simple word games with my 6 year old (you need to think of a word ending in the last letter of my word) or old school favorites like thumb wrestles & paper, rock scissors – these games don't need much space, can promote laughter and closeness (connection) which will ease tension & make the most of your time
Get a real and clear perspective on holidaying with children – Yep, it's not the same as it used to be. Flip your thinking around holidays; understand that they provide you with more time to connect with and have fun with your whole family. If you normally end up stressed and frustrated on holidays with your kids – find a friend to talk with before you go away. Moan to them about how much holidays have changed, or how hard you find them & ask your friend just to listen – you will be surprised of the outcome!
Have flexible schedules – Children's emotions don't run to routine. If you plan tours and adventures for every minute of every day you are bound to end up wishing you hadn't! Allow for down time and understand that some days are just better spent playing in the pool than dragging an unwilling child and frustrated parent around an art gallery, culture can wait, connection can’t.
Prepare yourself for all the feelings! – Our big emotions don't go away on holidays. The extra safety and closeness that the holiday may bring may also bring enough safety for children to show us some big hurts that have been stored. Know that by listening to & supporting them through these feelings (crying/tantrums) that this will help heal the hurt and make space for more fun, cooperation, closeness and laughter.
Bon Voyage Beautiful Families!