7 tips to make Holiday with Kids Much Easier
You get to that time of the year when you need a holiday, and you simply cannot be bothered to move the family abroad, or on the road. You have been there before, disappointed by the constant crying, the uncomfortable sharing of a hotel room, the frequent stops while driving toward your designated destination.
Been there, done that.
Parents, especially in the first years after having kids, tend to opt for “stay-cations”, or they normally complain of needing a holiday when they come back from holiday.
Do you resonate?
I have been a jet setter from a tender age; the idea of not travelling the world doesn’t agree with me, as that’s why my creativity gets sparked, and that’s also how I disconnect from my overthinking brain, and I deeply connect with my family and body. I do normally have my “ah!ah!” moments when I’m away from the comfort of my own home, which is why having a baby didn’t stop us (completely) from hopping on planes.
After many trial and error, we have come up with a very simple protocol on how to have a more positive (and definitely easier) holiday experience.
Travel around nap or sleep time
My daughter sleeps peacefully in the car, but she can be a terror when awake, as she can’t stand being strapped in; some parents have docile kids that never complain. We don’t. My husband was always the casual one when it came to departure times, and I have always been the super organised in the family.
One day I decided to let go of my controlling personality, and we jumped in the car when my baby needed a feed, and wasn’t tired at all; it was hell, and we had to stop the car to prevent her from hyperventilating because of the incessant crying; we immaturely started blaming each other and the argument kept ongoing also while she was (finally) peacefully sleeping.
Since that moment, we have started planning our departure time around her naps; she quietly drifts off into her world, while we listen to music and talk as we used to do when we dated.
You have a baby, and you decide to spend a weekend in a busy metropolis. For sure you can do it, the world is your oyster. But why would you put you and your family through so much stress? Not that many cities are babies friendly, and it can be daunting to deal with naptime, breastfeeding schedule, nappies changing and a screaming toddler while there is so much confusing traffic surrounding you. It doesn’t mean you won’t be able to holiday in NYC for the rest of your life, but wouldn’t it be so much better to choose the countryside just for now? Imagine your kid (s) playing in nature, no smog, no dirty public transports to catch, no one pushing you, or giving you the look cause the bub is crying. Having a baby slowed me down; whenever we go on holiday, the routine remains the same, which means we need to allow much time for waking up, cuddling, and playing. If you get in tune with your baby’s needs, instead of resisting it because “this is my holiday”, everything will get so much more fun.
Rent a home
We did the hotel thing; stuck in our bedroom, at 7 pm, in the dark watching a silent movie. Not enticing at all. That’s when we started renting a house with 2 bedrooms or at least with 2 beds. Haaaa! The joy of having our own space and be allowed to wake up in the middle of the night for a pee, without being afraid of waking up a screaming gremlin.
Renting a house or an apartment sounds more expensive than it really is; at the end of the day, you end up having your meals at home instead of relying on expensive restaurants, and you have extra space for movement whenever you pick a rainy weekend.
Travel with friends with kids
Camping, or renting a place, can be quite isolating.
Travelling with other families with kids can upgrade everyone experience, as you can take turns in watching the kids, you have someone else to share a glass of wine at night, you can take a turn in the kitchen, and when surrounded by other peers, kids tend to behave in a much better way.
It can be tough to coordinates holidays with other parents as there are so many things to consider, but the result is worth the extra time.
Allow breaks time
Especially when travelling by car, aim to break the drive and allow plenty of flexibility for the children to explore, move and have fun; you can pick a pub with an outdoor area at lunchtime, or a playground where you can picnic or lay down for a snooze, or maybe an educative plants or animals farm. Chose what works for your little family, but avoid planning a 10 hours drive, as nothing kills the “holiday vibes” as a child complaining for 6 hours straight.
Give yourself 1 extra day when u get back home
This is a gold tip. Never rush home the day before school starts or you have to go back to work. You will feel completely rushed and overwhelmed even before you turn the key into the lock. Always allow your family 24 hours of buffer time to get back into a routine, to fill in the fridge, clean the house, and unpack the suitcases. Have a relaxing night before the “madness” starts again, and you will feel so much more refreshed because of it.
This rule applies especially if you travel overseas. Landing at 10 pm and having to go to work at 9 am the next day doesn’t work. I used to do it all the time…when I didn’t have a child to take care of. Jetlag is real and becomes even more real after kids. Don’t feel guilty for taking an extra day; you will have so much more energy, and you will be much more switched on and productive because of it.
You have kids. Full stop. That’s how realistic you need to get.
If you are booking Fiji for a romantic gateway, you need to come to terms with your child routine, or you need to be comfortable with the idea of hiring a babysitter. If you decide to catch a plane, this can lead to jetlag and plenty of tears; if you opt for a camping trip, it can include mud and dirt in your pillowcase. It doesn’t matter how you look at it, holidaying with kids requires some extra patience, love, and organisational skills.
As long as you leave home with this mentality, and as long as you team up with your partner instead of fighting at every chance you get, you will have the best time.
And your kids as well.