Surviving Vacations with Kids…. is no joke.
We’ve all heard it: Traveling without kids is a vacation and after kids is a “work trip”. Mom truth: Vacationing with kids is hard. Vacationing with your own kids can be even harder. How can we survive vacations with kids? Here are 5 Tips to help you transition to Vacation Mode.
I have some words of wisdom to share with you from my Dad.
“It takes 48 hours to get into vacation mode.”
I’ve experienced this time and time again. Whether it’s summer vacation, spring break, or a family trip. It takes about 48 hours. I didn’t really understand that until I became a mom. I shared this theory with a friend of mine recently and she said, “Isn’t that the truth! I wish everyone knew that. It would set everyone’s expectations before the trip even begins.”
It takes 48 hours to….
find everything you packed.
buy new groceries.
find lost toys.
break up sibling spats.
like each other again.
Five Tips to make it through the first 48 hours:
1. Realize that there *might* be some stress at first. One Spring Break, I knew we needed to start the stay-cation with some quality time. So we headed up to the science museum. Everyone was cranky, one kids threw up in the car, and one just couldn’t stop complaining. It was amazing to see our family’s transformation ugly to beautiful as the day progressed. Forced family time at the beginning of the week, sets the stage for a great rest of the week. Also pouring into your children with undivided attention (quality time) fills up their love tank.
2. Make a plan. We all lead such scheduled lives, that jumping right into nothingness can overwhelm the family. My dad is famous for making a calendar of events while we’re on vacation. The truth is that it it visually displays all of the events and allows everyone to voice their opinion on what they’d like to do. A plan also stops the questioning, especially for Brother’s Day!
3. Try to plan a family event in the first 24 hours. Stacking the first few days with something fun gives everyone something to look forward to. I remember getting ready to go on a flight to see my sister. The stress of packing, cleaning the house, getting us out the door, flying alone with my kids, etc. made me one stressed out mom! Once we got to the airport, I completely chilled out. I was able to leave the chaos behind and embrace the excitement of the flight and give undivided attention to my kids.
4. Brainstorm some ideas for fun with your family. If everyone gets to have a say *hopefully* they’ll all be happier. Everyone vacations differently. Some people want to sit on the beach and others want to hike tall mountains or go shopping. Ask how people “vacation” before you begin so everyone gets a little of what they need.
5. It will get better. Traveling with family is never easy. There are always hiccups (or sick kids) along the way. For moms, most vacations feel like work. See if there is someone (a spouse, grandparent, or friend) who would be willing to relieve you one night. Plan for it and look forward to it!
Overall, I’m a big believer in family vacations. This is something that my parents instilled in me and I’m happy to share this with my family. We scrimp and save in other areas of our lives so that we can have time together. We build memories and learn more about each other when we’re on vacation.
One last note from my Dad. At some point during the trip, he’d always say, “Is this a vacation or what?!” I can honestly say that some vacations were better than others, but hearing his enthusiasm only added to mine and the success of the trip. I may not say the same words on our family’s trips, but I make sure to share to share my excitement and pleasure with them as well.
Top photo taken in Florida on the Gulf of Mexico.