17th May, 2018
Taking children on holiday has a bad press and yet ask any adult to look back on their childhood and its likely that some of their happiest and strongest memories are of family holidays. I know this to be true because as a mother of four, listening to my now adult children I’ve heard their recollections many times. However, for the same reason, I’m a realist and recognise the daunting nature of taking children on holiday and the fear that it is not going to be a break for the grownups.
So here are some of my best tips for getting the most out of a family holiday for everyone, children and adults alike:
F ix the date reasonably far ahead so you can choose the best and safest options, prepare and
A nticipate the pleasures to come fully
M ake lists of everything you might need
I f your list is too big prioritise the most important things
L et the children join in and help where possible
Y ou can always tidy up and streamline their packing!
Have a rota for all the jobs that have to be done day to day and SHARE the workload
O nly spend what you can afford and make what that is clear
L et everyone, where possible choose to have space/me time each day
I f any disagreements arise deal with, resolve and forget as quickly as possible
D on’t let them taint the whole holiday
A lways aim for flexibility and various options each day- especially if your holiday has to take UK weather into account
Y ou might enjoy looking round a gallery or museum but this may not be something the kids would choose so find a way of making it as chlld-friendly as possible, take turns with your partner and/or build in an incentive to win the children over like a meal or other activity to follow
S haring the load with another adult is a good idea but plan ahead re ground rules, wishes and worries about the experience
All in all, I think if you are prepared to be flexible, reasonably democratic and to communicate and plan well, a holiday with children can not only be a lot of fun but also be quite an opportunity for theirs, yours and the family’s growth and development.
PS. All of the above is written with families of children of at least pre-school age in mind. Taking a break with babies and toddlers is different in many ways and I will write about this another day.