The summer is here and for many of us this means the arrival of long-awaited holiday time. Travelling and holidaying with children comes with its own set of challenges and expectations. As much as holidays provide a great opportunity for spending some quality time together, sharing experiences and creating special memories, they also come with potential stresses.
So with this in mind here are a few practical tips for making the most of your family holiday and minimising feelings of stress.
- Make a family ‘holiday treats’ list: get all family members to write a big list of all the things you want to do during the holidays, stick it up on the wall and tick things off as you go.
- Let things take time: simply ‘slowing down’ could be the biggest benefit of the holiday so allow a trip to the park to last all day, encourage everyone to spend longer around the table at mealtimes.
- Alternate between 'doing' and 'being': visit and experience new places but also have some downtime at home where children can just ‘be’ without the stimulation of new environments. It’s also amazing what boredom can bring about in terms of creativity and imaginary play!
- Make adult visits child-friendly: when visiting places that may be of more interest to the adults, give the children activities or tasks to do, such as a challenge to find the tallest tree or sheets with questions to complete.
- Turn travel boredom into novelty: for travel with young children and toddlers consider bringing a bag with items they haven’t seen before; these items can then be brought out one at a time at intervals to keep the little ones entertained.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff: letting day-to-day rules slip a little during holiday times is highly unlikely to have any significant consequences or create bad habits. Very young children probably do best if, as much as possible, routines stay the same while on holiday, but slightly older children will generally cope well with a more lax approach and readjust once the holiday is over.
- Treasure simple family moments: the most memorable, treasured moments are often to do with being together as a family without the everyday distractions of busy lives. So there is no need to go overboard with costly ‘experiences’; playing a game of cards every evening could be the thing that children grow up to remember and associate with special times.
The Keil Centre wishes you happy, stress-free family holidays! For more information on maintaining this feeling when back at work, please see our services on individual, team and organisational resilience.