Don’t dread your family vacation! There are lots of ways to keep the kids calm and smiling on the road to relaxation.
A typical family spends the entire year looking forward to a couple of weeks of vacation. They expect that time to refresh their bodies and spirits as well as enhance their family relationship. But often, the opposite is true.
The minute the kids are strapped into their carseats, the battlecry begins. “Are we there yet?” Hours spent jammed together in a car on a busy highway can try the patience of the most peaceful parent. Crowded airports and amusement parks bring out the worst in people.
Is there any hope for a great vacation?
YES! It takes three things — planning, patience and a willingness to adjust your expectations.
There are lots of ways to occupy hours of road time for your kids. Consider ALL of them. You can’t have too many options. Think small and homemade or big-ticket.
From low-tech games like 20 Questions to handheld choices like GameBoy, anything that’s packable is perfect to add to your arsenal.
Read to your kids. Introduce a fun or exciting chapter book and steer clear of picture books. No extra reader? Try books on CD or audiobooks on mp3. There are more available than you ever imagined!
Easy way to calm the kiddies? Equip your vehicle with a video player and simply pop in a tape. Or bring along a laptop to play PC games or watch DVDs.
Kids get bored quickly and they need to move. Stop often to get the wiggles out. Jog through the rest area during potty and meal breaks or head to a park with play equipment.
Look at the trip through your kids’ eyes. Accept that their crankiness may be a valid reaction to a situation that isn’t a laugh a minute. So try to make it more fun!
Adjust Your Expectations
Take your trip in shorter chunks to make the time pass more easily for everyone. You may not get as far each day, but you will have a better time overall.
Keep everyone relaxed by scaling down the number of things you have planned. Rushing from activity to activity will only make you crazy.
Enjoy the Journey
Look at the trip to and from your destination as a part of your vacation fun and make the most of each day. Getting there really is half the fun, and getting home is the other half!