For most people, rest and relaxation is the main point of their holiday. But, of course, children don’t always understand this, and when expectations are high, it’s easy for things to become manic. Here are some things that I have learnt over the years in my quest for the ultimate in peaceful travel with children.
- Lower expectations
Don’t expect to fit in a day of sight-seeing, a long and lazy lunch out and evening barbecue on the beach, without some kind of melt down (possibly from you). Make your choice between doing less or putting up with the tantrums. I know which I would choose.
- Know when to keep it private
The French may be able to take their children out for dinner without tears, but if your kids are getting on the fractious side, don’t do as the locals do just to prove a point. It may be easier all round to self-cater and save the nice night out for when everyone is in the right mood.
- Explain about Quiet Time
When I was in school we used to have quiet time – time when we would have to lie still and close our eyes. Some of us even managed to get to sleep. Many children today don’t do this, and it’s a big shame. Bring quiet time into your daily routine, starting with perhaps a couple of minutes in the car whilst you drive. Even if they resist at first, they may enjoy it in the end.
- Pay them!
If that doesn’t work, bribe them. Half an hour of peace and quiet and they get an ice cream. You too, if you deserve it!
Physical movement is important for you and them, especially if you’re all cooped up in a car or plane. Research some basic yoga moves together and have a bit of fun stretching throughout your time away. Poses like The Cow, The Cobra and The Tree can be great fun for children and good stress relief for you.
Encourage them to keep a journal where they write about their adventures and stick in tickets, drawings etc. Not only are you nurturing creativity but you may also get another twenty minutes of calm concentration.
- Encourage Reading
I was shocked when my son told me that he was the only boy in his class who read for pleasure. Reading is such a rich pastime and it lets you into so many worlds. I feel terribly sad when anyone, adult or child, tells me they don’t read. Do your best to encourage and indulge it, as it is a lifelong pleasure.
If you’re with another adult, make a point of swapping child-care so that you both get me time. Be strong and make sure you don’t just use it to clear the washing up. Get out in the fresh air and physically away from the others so that you can return, refreshed and revitalised.
- Use Clubs
Don’t feel guilty about using clubs if they are on offer. As well as down time for you, your child will benefit from the stimulation and you’ll get back together with something to talk about.
- Make things easy on yourself
Avoid early morning flights for instance, or, if you simply can’t, try booking an airport hotel room the night before. Sometimes it can be the same price as airport parking alone if you book early enough. What else can you do to make things physically easier?
By Paula Gardner of http://www.soothedinthecity.com