Going on holidays with kids sounds fun, right? You anticipate them playing happily at the beach with their bucket and spade in their cute matching swimwear while you chill back on a towel, drink in hand, and enjoy soaking up some rays.
1. Time for a reality check
Flash forward to the actual holiday and it looks a little different to the one you thought you booked.
Your toddler is crying about the sand stuck to their feet, your preschooler is whining for food – despite having already eaten all their allocated, pre-packed snacks. And after an hour of tag-teaming with your partner, trying to “deal” with your disgruntled children, you look longingly at the book you packed and accept defeat.
2. Holidaying with kids is an oxymoron
That is, it doesn’t make sense at all. Not unless it comes with free alcohol once they’re all finally asleep at night and a bonus nanny to ensure you will actually get some time to relax in the day. Holidaying with kids is basically an expensive exercise in relocating your small humans – and the three suitcases it takes to get them there – to a dream destination they have no interest in visiting (and you won’t get to enjoy).
3. You will forget to pack essential items
At some point your baby will do an explosive poo that seeps out the sides of their nappy and soils the only pair of longer pants you packed for them. Which were also doubling as their pyjamas because you forgot those too. Turns out the shops on the island don’t sell baby clothes. Perhaps fashioning something out of your four-year-old’s clothes and a rubber band will be okay … right?
4. The chores come with you
There’s still cooking to be done. There’s no break from the laundry which you can either choose to deal with while you’re away or you can tackle when you get home. Neither option is desirable.
5. Sibling fights don’t stop
There’s no break from the sibling bickering. The kids will still find ways to argue and lose their bundle regardless of where you are. Someone is always going to be unhappy.
Lower your expectations and be prepared
In spite of all this, if you are still feeling brave enough to attempt a holiday with your young children, here are my top tips for survival:
- Pack more clothes than you think you’ll need.
- Pack more nappies than you think you’ll need.
- Pack more snacks than you think you’ll need.
- Definitely pack some type of screen that your children can be glued to temporarily, enabling you to have a quiet cider on the deck with your beloved while you reminisce of the days when“going away” was actually a relaxing, rejuvenating experience.
- Talk to your partner before you leave and be open about your individual expectations.
- Negotiate based on these expectations and try to accommodate each other’s needs, leaving less chance for resentment to build out of frustration.
Stay home and do this instead
If this article has scared you off the prospect of ever holidaying with your children, you can do the following instead:
- Take all the money you were going to spend on “going away with the kids”.
- Save the bulk of it, and spend the rest on a fancy child-free lunch out with your beloved. Or even splurge on a spa day together (if that’s your thing).
I can guarantee you’ll feel rested, connected and rejuvenated – and there won’t be a pile of growing laundry, washing up or tantrums to deal with.