For many of us, hitting the road with kids can seem like a massive ordeal but the facts don’t lie – families are traveling as much as they ever have. In fact, according to AAA, 70% of traveling families will be looking for new places to see in 2019 and one in four will be taking three or more vacations.
That’s a lot of families and kids on the road – and most important – a lot of kids in new surroundings. For some parents- the thought of that is stressful and they’re not wrong. Kids can be a lot. But they don’t have to be.
Today, here are a few tips to help you survive the next vacation with your kids.
Let’s jump right in!
Let your kids be kids
Kids look forward to vacation as much – or if not more so – than you do, although their priority list is sure to be much different from yours. Some will want to play, hang out with friends, sack out and watch movies and the like. But just because kids have a lot they’re planning on doing doesn’t mean you hand your whole vacation over to them. Be sure to find a balance between having some structured travel plans – while allowing the freedom for kids to do their thing and feel like they’re part of everything.
Keep them fed. Keep them rested
Being well fed and well rested is a priority for most of us parents. But those usual daily routines we’re used to tend to go right out the window when we’re on vacation. The change in pace can sometimes lead to some contentious moments as well. The biggest key is to prepare them for what’s coming. For example when your plane land, let them know that you’ll be waiting in line for a car rental.
Keep lots of healthy snacks on hand and make sure there’s plenty of downtime for kids to recharge those batteries. Vacations are a blast – but they can be exhausting for kids. Make sure they’re ready to go!
Plan two or three things a day
Being spontaneous is just part of traveling, but having activities scheduled keeps people moving and avoids too much unfocused downtime. Still, this way you’ll get to do the things you want to, the kids will get to do what they want to – and everyone goes about their day with a sense of purpose. Sometimes, even involving them in prioritizing the activities can give them something to look forward to and a sense of ownership over the trip.
Anxiety Is Normal
Anxiety is on the rise everywhere so pretending it won’t interfere with your prized vacation is like thinking flies won’t invite themselves to your next picnic. Everyone is a new place, you’ll be dealing with lines, crowds, unexpected expenses and a whole gammit of other things. Just plan for it. Bring distractions like mad libs, books, and other ‘cognitive’ distractions for everyone to take advantage of. Especially when moving about, it’ll take the edge off.
Good luck on your next family trip!