Today’s simplicity soup recipe? Vacation Organization!
A recipe for traveling with kids in tow! The one where your child is content and, as a result, you are too. Simply put: the trip that feels like you got a break too!
What’s the inspiration?
We were standing in the security line at the airport. In front of us, a family of three. The little boy, around 4 years old, grew weary of waiting. He would lean into one parent, then the other, then twirl around and accidentally bump into them. He would tug at one parent and then the other and ask questions. And soon, the parents grew impatient. I watched as tempers flared and the child tried to control their behaviors but they soon returned. A full down meltdown – for everyone – was brewing.
Later that same trip, I watched a well dressed family sitting down in a restaurant. Wine was poured, but their three year old had other ideas other than leisurely conversation and sipping from their cup. Soon, one parent was walking around in the restaurant with the child in tow. The other parent looked on and stared down the waiter until some breadsticks arrived. Soon after the breadsticks, the child was up and exploring. Dinner was enjoyed with one parent standing and the other working to eat so they could trade off responsibilities.
And then, there were the moments at the pool, beach or *insert your other favorite relaxing spot here*. Parents had the vision of relaxing. They prepared accordingly. Toys? Check. Snacks? Check. But inevitably, those preparations lasted a short time and soon I would see them packing up with the child in tow and heading back to their hotel room. Most likely, to turn on the TV and try to find a little respite. Why? It was too hot. Someone had to use the bathroom. The toy the child yearned for wasn’t packed.
Each of these families had planned, saved, dreamed of and committed to a trip. A trip where they looked forward to being together, having fun and making memories. Now, I know their whole trip was not in the few moments I witnessed, but their experience would have been better had those moments not occurred at all.
Perhaps you have been there. I have. It’s the vacation moment where you set out to have the best day ever. And then, the wheels start coming off.
Now, if you haven’t experienced any of the above, congratulations!
But, if you have, first of all, you are not alone. You are a human raising other humans. It doesn’t mean you need to avoid that family trip or that you won’t have any fun. It simply means that vacation organization may be helpful to you and your next adventures.
The recipe for success!
Planning ahead and thinking through a few logistics will yield a little more vacation fun. So, as you start planning and packing, here are a few vacation organization tips to help that trip go just a little bit smoother.
- Recognize the need for routine. Consistency provides stability. It is okay to change the routine, but talk with your child and provide them with information (in simple terms) about the travel/vacation.
- Give a heads-up – Talk through an activity or plan for the day. Provide choices for your child as feasible.
- Recognize exhaustion and over stimulation and know when is enough. It doesn’t mean that you need to be done for the day, just maybe for that moment. Be willing to change plans, slow down and take a respite.
- Communicate with your partner about your goals and expectations for vacation. Be willing to take turns and support each other in finding some respite or trying something new. Vacation does not mean you need to be together, all the time.
- Consider the destination and how it meets your family’s interests, lifestyle and goals. Though a major theme park may sound fun in theory, your family may find bliss hiking in the woods with an evening campfire. Plan accordingly and be okay with a different kind of vacation. You may find it to be the best getaway ever.
Happy vacation organizing!
What’s your best family trip and why? Share with me at [email protected].