Ahhhh … destination holidays. Lie-ins, leisurely breakfasts, relaxing by the pool. Sightseeing, afternoon naps, perhaps a massage, followed by candlelit dinners for two, and a quiet, relaxing hotel room. You can stay up as late as you like, because you don’t have to get up early tomorrow! Oh, wait. Hang on a minute. You have kids now. Family Holidays don’t look like that at all anymore! Ironically, they now represent hard work and a healthy amount of stress.
To put it mildly, a holiday is an opportunity for a mum to do all the regular things she does at home, in a different or exotic destination. Except without all your usual equipment and facilities. And while living in a confined space with your family, 24 hours a day.
Just because you’re on holidays doesn’t mean your kids stop needing you. They still need baths, clean teeth, toilet trips, regular meals, naps and bedtime routines. Clothes still get dirty, faces need sunscreen, things go missing, people get sick, naps become irregular. And with a lack of routine, behaviors can regress. In addition, you’ll find that you’ve been appointed to the roles of Holiday Rep, Tour Guide, and Director of Entertainment.
Mums deserve to enjoy the holiday too! The aim of a getaway should be to unwind, enjoy family time, and make some lovely memories.
Here are a few key tips to keep in mind during family holidays:
1. Where possible, book an apartment. Not only will you have kitchen facilities, you’ll also have a quiet bedroom to put kids to sleep in, and a living area for adults
2. Relax routines. If someone misses a nap, goes to bed late or doesn’t eat their dinner, it’s not the end of the world. Routines and healthy eating patterns can always restart at home
3. Get your husband or older children to research, and plan some activities or outings!
4. Schedule some alone time. Whether it be a coffee, shopping or a treatment, you deserve a little time to recharge your batteries alone
5. Cut everyone a little slack. Children (and adults!) can feel anxious in unfamiliar surroundings and may act out in different ways
6. Plan family activities that everyone will enjoy, with suitable lengths of time (maybe re-think that six-hour guided city walking tour). Read our article Top 3 Brands for Toys on The Go
7. Be patient with jet-lag. It can take a few days to settle into a pattern
8. Make sure you’re in the photos! Mums take on the role of family photographer and aren’t in any of the pictures
9. Pack a few familiar snacks from home, and a few quiet activities for kids to play with, so everyone can have a chance to unwind. Read our article Why Choose Organic.
Above all, remember that not every moment is going to be relaxing, magical and blissful. When you see other people’s idyllic family holiday snaps, know that for each happy photo, there has been a healthy dose of whinging, sulking and maybe a tantrum or two. (And that’s not even talking about kids!)
Check out a few of our favourite holiday essentials at Mumzworld!