Posted by: coachingparents | December 19, 2007

Wednesday Wisdom: Traveling with Children


Five Tricks to Help Your Family Enjoy Every Aspect of Your Vacation:

• Travel Games
• Food related issues
• Entertainment
• Being in new places
• Being at home when it seems everyone else has gone

When vacation comes, we often think that it means we as grown ups can completely relax.  And yes that would be nice, but the fact is if we have children we are always responsible for them, even on vacation.  Now you can look at your responsibility as a burden.  Or you can have a different approach.  You can realize that you have the privilege to have a vacation and with every privilege comes responsibility.  Your children are your privilege.  Your vacation is your privilege .  And here are suggestions of how to have your responsibilities be enjoyable and enhance your vacation.

When you start your vacation you have to get there.  And that means you need to think of the travel as part of the vacation, not the time it takes to get there.  In preparation for the trip, create a small very special “travel only” set of activities.  In addition to the regular items of paper, markers, books, travel games, include action toys that are related to where you are going.  This will allow your child to release some anticipation in a creative way rather than “Are we there yet.”  And when you get this question- no matter how it is said- respond to it as if the only reason your child is asking is because he or she is so excited.  By having the vacation start the moment you leave home will give both you and your kids the opportunity to have an adventure.  And kids love adventures.  I hope you do to.

When on vacation food is often an issue.  Try to pack a few (or a lot if necessary) simple foods you know your kids will eat.  Being interested in healthy eating, I always bring dried fruits and nuts, granola, and then some less healthy foods such as cookies and chips.  When I arrive I always scout out how to be sure we can have fresh fruit, even if this means finding a food market in a foreign country.  Also, bringing the all American PB and J can really help.  When children are trying new foods they often make their decision based on looks rather than taste.  To get past this tell your children about how the taste buds on the tongue can’t see anything.  They can only taste.  And they feel a bit left out of all the great vacation stuff by not seeing anything.  So why not give them a little entertainment and give them a taste.   You can liven up the story and make it quite funny.

The other issue of food is that on vacation you may be at the mercy of others for when you eat.  If your children are getting hungry them ruin their appetite enough to keep them pleasant.  It will be no fun for anyone, especially you, if your kids have a melt down from hunger.

Entertainment is a large part of vacation.  The mass media has filled us with the idea that vacations should be entertaining.  And if you and your children think that every moment will be filled with entertainment you may find your children are over stimulated.  Notice if they are going a bit berserk.  This is usually a sign of over stimulation.  Create a way to have a  quiet time, even for ten minutes with older children.  And if you become stronger than the mass media you can even change your own attitude from being entertained for your vacation, which has a passive-follower  aspect to it, to being relaxed and rejuvenated, which has a proactive aspect to it.  Create guidelines for which activities you do.  I know you are spending lots of money, but you and your kids really don’t have to do everything.  Have the freedom to do as much as feels fun and interesting without getting over whelmed- isn’t getting grid of being overwhelmed one of the reasons you are vacation?

Another area to pay attention to is being in new places.  Sometimes children simply find new places scary.  You may be going someplace and think it a great idea for your child to be in the child –care.  They say just drop off. But it your child will be miserable, then know that it will take some time to help your child adjust to the new place  And you may not get to do everything on your own list while your little one is becoming settled in.  This can take away from your personal satisfaction, unless you realize that by helping your little one adjust you are giving your child the life skill of being able to enter new places with ease and comfort. 

When you go on a family vacation I want you to remember that the most important thing is not where you go or what you do, but it is the time you as a family get to spend together without your regular routines.  The media will not emphasize this.  It does not sound very glittery or exotic.  Don’t worry, by having a vacation built around comfort and relaxation you and your family will have more time to enjoy your vacation than the others who are desperately trying to fill up every moment of time.

 Grace E. Mauzy, MA works with overwhelmed, stressed parents having difficulty comfortably coping with divorce. Parents learn positive intervention utilizing strategies and tactics to develop strength and harmony during the divorce process. To learn more about her powerful speaking, coaching, and workshops, or to receive Grace’s motivating course “Seven Steps To Deal Powerfully With Divorce”.

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Responses

  1. Had some thoughts about this a couple of weeks ago.


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