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7 Tips for a Peaceful and Enjoyable Family Vacation
I just got back from my two-week vacation.
Sounds indulgent, right?
The time off was much needed, and the first week of our vacation was honestly my favorite! We were NOT overbooked, had no real plans, and simply went to the beach, played games, read books, road bikes, painted shells, dug holes to find sand crabs and even learned about ghost crabs. Have you ever heard of ghost crabs? For all my NJ people, these crabs are thriving on the beaches of Barnegat Light!
Then, the second week came…
This is when more family members and friends arrived. Although it was super exciting and fun to see our loved ones, it was exhausting. I returned home ready to recoup before resuming my sessions.
Maybe it was the salt air or the excitement of having family members stay in the same home, but my sweet children didn’t sleep past 6:00am on ANY DAY during our vacation.
Thus, it’s nice to be home again where my children sleep in a bit longer.
My experience inspired me to write a blog post sharing some suggestions to enable other parents to have a peaceful and enjoyable family vacation. Amazon affiliate links included for your convenience.
7 Tips for Having a Peaceful and Enjoyable Family Vacation
- Bring books. Having a slew of books at your disposal is especially useful on rainy days, for cultivating quiet time or naps and for getting children to retire for the night. Did you know that parents who read one picture book with their children every day expose their children to 78,000 words each year! This number increases if you read more than one book a day to your child. (Source: When Children Are Not Read to at Home: The Million Word Gap). Reading exposes us to more lexically diverse words than everyday chit chat conversation. Some of my favorite board books for toddlers are located on my website in the “Resource” section. I read the beautiful alphabet book, B is for Bear by Hannah Viano, to all three children – my children ages 8 and 4 and my niece who is 2.5 years old. My daughter and I started reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, and I devoured Edie Richter is Not Alone by Rebecca Handler.
- Bring family-friendly games. There are numerous benefits to getting everyone together to play a board game or two. The adults and my 8-year-old had a blast playing Pictionary Jr. by Mattel and Sleeping Queens by Gamewright. I regret NOT bringing Kids on Stage and Jumping Jack for my son and niece so they could benefit from this special family time. So make sure to bring games that satisfy every age group in order to ensure that everyone gets to enjoy the fun!
- Bring fun toys. My 4-year-old and his little cousin pleasantly entertained themselves with trucks, cars, dolls, dress-up costumes (there was a little drama over Elsa’s dress- haha!), and playdoh. I LOVE playdoh; it’s a crowd pleaser for most children. Although, I don’t recommend play doh if:
- Your child will mouth or eat the play doh
- You or a family member does not like cleaning up the bits of play doh that fall on the floor
- Get outside and play. Being outside is good for you! We were blessed with sunny and warm weather so we enjoyed going to the beach, jumping in the waves, digging holes, building sandcastles, and riding bikes every day on our vacation. Research supports that playing outdoors, particularly in a green space with lots of grass and trees, can improve your child’s focus and attention (Source: Faber and Kuo).
- Try to keep some established routines in place. The two key words here are try and some. Routines give us a sense of comfort and security. They are especially important for toddlers and young children. For a toddler who can’t speak yet and has trouble communicating, routines are VITAL in establishing comfort by providing consistency. Since the toddler has some sense of control, security, and comfort from consistency, he or she can naturally focus and learn from their environment. Here are some routines that you may be able to keep on vacation – family meals, bath or shower time, naptime, and bedtime. The stimulation from visiting new places and people can be overwhelming for young children so routines can help ground them.
- Avoid overbooking your family. I overscheduled my family with ½ day camp, play dates, outings, and events. By the end of our vacation, we were exhausted and my children came down with bad colds. Vacations should allow us time to recharge your battery, regroup, recover from work and school stress, spend time with families, and make memories. I think that we put so much pressure on ourselves to “have fun” while on vacation, but in reality, we should be taking this time to relax! If we are running from one activity to another, we miss out on times to talk, read, and play with our families. Enjoy the downtime.
- Catch them being good (before you say “no”!) – Provide positive reinforcement and give praise when your children are well-behaved, listening, demonstrating kind and gentle behavior, and showing maturity and manners. Praise the behavior you want to see. If we say “no” too often, our children will tune us out. In Dr. Damon Korb’s book, Raising an Organized Child, he states, “Experts agree that 10 positives for every 1 negative comment is an effective guideline when trying to teach kids to listen.” Do you think you can catch your child being good 10 times before automatically saying no or saying a negative comment? It’s worth a try – especially on vacation!
I hope this helps. Any other tips or suggestions, please comment below!
Enjoy the rest of your summer.
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