Helping your kids get the most from their holiday
So, you've forked out the year's savings on taking the kids on holiday and you're determined that everyone's going to enjoy your break away.
But sometimes the expectation doesn't quite meet the reality, leaving parents feeling despondent that their children don't seem to be enjoying things as much as they'd hoped.
Try to have realistic expectations about travel with children - it's going to be a bit more stressful than it was when it was just the two of you and there will be lots of things you'll have to compromise on.
Get the kids involved
But by involving your child in the planning process and letting them make decisions about what you get up to while away can make a real difference. When you're going on holiday, encourage your children to find out about where you're going. Let everyone choose one activity or visit on the holiday.
Don't 'timetable' the holiday too much and balance out sightseeing with doing what the children want to - they'll soon tire of traipsing around churches and museums if they don't get to let off steam in the park, beach or hotel swimming pool. Try to resist the urge to pack the children off to the kids club at the earliest opportunity - yes, such facilities can allow you and your partner to claw back a little 'you time' and relax in the sun together but remember that family holidays are about spending time together as a family and you'll regret not sharing travel experiences together in later years.
If you're going overseas try to get the kids interested in the culture, language and traditions of the country you're visiting. Try to steer them away from having tomato sauce with everything and see if they'd like to try some more authentic food. Even learning just a few basic phrases such as hello and goodbye can help children feel connected with the country they're visiting. Remember that children don't have the social hang-ups that adults do and it's lovely to see them interact with locals - on the beach, in the market and in the restaurants - so try not to limit your holiday experience to the hotel complex.
You can also keep their interest alive in the places you visit by hanging on to bits and pieces from the holiday as keepsakes or to make a holiday scrapbook with when they get back home. Things like tickets, postcards, interesting food wrappers and shells from the beach are good and can be taken into school for news.
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