Children love family vacations. The goal? Come up with family vacation ideas that meet your budget and still reflect your values. Today’s article is your kid friendly vacation guide, so you can survive and thrive during your next trip.
Family vacations can be so much fun. I can still remember the day my youngest son Logan looked out of the airplane window during take-off. He was in awe while we flew through the clouds. Suddenly, he yelled out, “look, Dad, we are in heaven.” In response, I smiled and then joined him in the excitement. Internally, I was thinking something very different: “We just left heaven! It’s that shrinking island below. It’s called Maui.”
Kids love vacations for two specific reasons. First, they get to participate in all kinds of fun activities. Next, family vacations offer something children don’t get enough of at home. Family vacations create parents who are much more relaxed and emotionally available. (One of my neighbors described her dad as “vacation dad” because he said yes a lot more when he’s on vacation).
I remember it like it was yesterday. We were on a family vacation in Maui, and my son Dylan said he was hungry. So, I asked him what he wanted for dinner. He smiled with a devilish grin and offered, “How about a giant ice-cream cone?” I looked at my wife for her reaction. After seeing a childish grin on her face, I smiled from ear to ear and blurted out, “Why not! Let’s all have a giant ice-cream cone for dinner!” Together, we sat under the massive Banyan tree in Lahaina and enjoyed our ice-cream meal. It was one of the best meals we ever had as a family!
Family vacations remind us of something powerful. We all need some time to slow down, unplug and have played together. Getting away from home and traveling to an exciting destination is what makes vacations so wonderful. However, traveling with young children can be a real challenge. Here are some Kid Friendly Vacation ideas:
Give kids plenty of advanced warning
Young children don’t transition well. Even more, they get stressed out when parents drag them into the unknown. Consider talking to them about how exciting it will be on the trip. Show them some images online so they can imagine what’s to come. This helps them both enjoy the anticipation and conquer any vacation fears. And seeing your smiling faces in advance helps them warm up more quickly to relatives they don’t see as often.
Make it a kid friendly vacation and pack together
Kid friendly vacations are all about family, connection, and community. Let your child help choose some outfits, but make sure you can mix, match, and layer her options. Oh, go ahead and accept that your space in the luggage will be limited once your child’s every need has been met.
Yes, it’s a challenge. Try to finish all your packing a day or two before your departure. This lets all of you relax before the trip begins. It’s tempting to chalk up to jet lag or fussy kids to stress, but it usually stems from having been up half the night tending to last-minute details.
Talk to your kids about expectations
Discussing expectations ensure that your family is a united front. Even more, it ensures that everyone is considering the views of everyone else. You can role play in the car, the airplane, or the train while en route to your destination.
“Do we run or walk in the hotel hallways?”
“What do you do and say if you don’t like the meal?”
“When you want to leave the table, what do you say?”
“What can you do or say if you cousins start pushing on you?”
Bring their creature comforts
Often what little ones want most when they’re traveling is what they already know. Schedule a visit to a favorite fast-food restaurant or some quiet one-on-one time with a beloved stuffed animal. Doing so helps soothe their anxious hearts.
This is the best thing we ever did for our family. When you have babies and toddlers sit in the plane’s bulkhead because it has extra room. Keep in mind that there’s no room under the seat for a carry-on bag. If you want easy access to toys, snacks, drinks, and wipes, then consider splitting thing up and grabbing some seats just behind the bulkhead. That way you have room and storage.
Don’t over schedule your family vacation
Overscheduled families are stressed, families. Do yourself a favor. Don’t try so hard to have the perfect family vacation. Otherwise, you get caught up and entangled in the activity trap. Instead:
- Limit activities
- Make family time a priority
- Take pride in being unproductive sometimes
- Make sure pleasure (yes, that’s what I said… pleasure) has a central place in your kid friendly vacation
A Point to Ponder
Once the fun is gone on a family vacation, everyone loses