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Isn’t going on vacation so much fun?! You get to get out of town, enjoy some sun and surf, and just get away from it all… of course when you’re travelling with kids it’s not always idyllic, particularly when you have a few kids of different ages with different interests. So how do you keep everyone happy when you’re away on holiday together? We’ve got some suggestions that hopefully will help!
1. Lay out expectations
We have a family meeting where we lay out where we’re going, how we’re getting there and some of the things we plan on doing. We also remind the kids that the rules for expected behaviour don’t change just because we’re not at home. Go over the rules and the consequences for poor behaviour.
2. Keep it equitable
Not everyone is going to get to do what they want for the entire length of the trip and that’s a good thing! Do activities as a family to promote selflessness. Is dad into golf? Sign up the kids for a golf lesson and get everyone involved! Is one of your children really into tennis? Get a match going with everyone in the family. By doing this, you’re teaching your kids about putting others before themselves and they may just discover a new passion!
3. Do something new… together
Consider doing an excursion off the resort grounds that would be a new adventure for everyone. It’s such a great bonding experience. Conquering the fear of trying out a new activity will bring out different sides to kids (and parents). The kids may cry a little but in the end it will have been well worth it! Trust us, we’ve done it!
4. Divide and conquer
Have your partner and you take turns with the kids. If you have an older child who wants to go sliding at the adult pool, go with her and have your spouse stay at the toddler pool with the younger ones. Not only is it nice for each child to have an opportunity to do something they enjoy, it’s important to carve out a couple of hours of alone time. Sometimes, all that’s needed is an hour or two away from the other siblings to restore sanity.
5. Many birds with one stone
Travelling with children of various ages and interests can present challenges. If you plan a day at the beach, consider different activities for the kids. For instance, one child can be happily digging in the sand, while another is tossing the frisbee and yet another is fishing. There are times when it’s possible to appeal to everyone’s interests.
6. Don’t forget the older kids
It’s easy for those first-borns get lost in the noise of the more urgent cries of the toddlers and babies. When the younger ones have gone to bed, have one of you take your older child (or children) out for a walk around the resort. Go see a movie, or go watch the game poolside. It’ll be a bonding experience that will show your older kid that their interests matter, too.
7. Follow through on consequences
All that family time can sometimes mean one or more of your children just can’t keep it together. Make sure you follow through on consequences, even if it means leaving fun behind at the pool to take a child back to the room or eating in while everyone else goes out to dinner. If you show your children you’re not going to back down easily just because you’re on vacation, they’re far less likely to act up in the future.
One of the reasons we love to travel with our kids is because it grows them and teaches them a lot about themselves. Kids discover new passions, conquer fears and learn to encourage and work together as a family unit. This is especially true with siblings. Here’s to smooth seas and memories to last a lifetime!