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I’m sure by now you’ve gone on a family vacation that didn’t go quite as you planned. Unfortunately, things never really go as planned, especially when there are a mix of different personalities. So, let’s make this summer different. Continue reading to learn some new tips and tricks to make your next vacation the best it could be.
Give yourself some leeway
Traveling with a group, especially with children involved, will most likely mean you’re going to be running late. We all know how getting the children out of the house on a daily basis can be an uphill battle, nevermind for a vacation with all the luggage that goes with it. There’s nothing worse than missing a flight or having to stand in a long line because you didn’t arrive earlier. Don’t just give yourself a little extra time, but a lot of it. An extra 15 minutes won’t always cut it. Most of the time, 45 minutes to an hour is how much leeway you’ll need. Check out Mommy Authority for more support about traveling with children and other parenting hacks for getting things done as a family.
Set aside time for you
In all the hustle and bustle of things, you may get so caught up in making everyone else happy that you forget about yourself. Set aside time so you can do the activities you will enjoy. Make time for the things you love to do, even if that means just lying in the sun reading a magazine. You will be miserable if you are doing only what everyone else wants to do. Everyone will have more fun if everyone is having fun, including you, so make that a priority.
Set realistic goals
Don’t go into a vacation planning to have action-packed days when you have an uncle coming with you that has a bad knee. Your whole group is only as strong as its weakest player and only as fast as them too. When you make plans, keep them simple and realistic. If you set your goals low, then the only way to go is up. You may end up being pleasantly surprised in how much you were able to accomplish.
Don’t test limits
In the same theme of setting realistic goals, you shouldn’t test your or anyone else’s limits, including your children. Most children are used to a schedule like eating at specific times and a specific bedtime. Once you start pushing off meals and bedtimes, you will just end up with cranky kids. Cranky kids lead to cranky adults. Even when kids say they aren’t tired or they seem to be having too much fun to remind them to reapply sunblock, you need to remember that you’re the parent and you know what’s best for them. Throwing their schedule and routine out the window during a vacation will not only cause problems on the vacation, but it will make it more difficult for them to return to the real world when the vacation ends.
Cut down screen time
If you and your family can decide together that screen time on the vacation will be limited, then you will be setting yourself up for success. It will allow everyone to be engaged and present during the trip. Your kids’ electronics can be reserved for long car rides or flights. If you see them getting antsy during their downtime, offer them something else to calm them, like drawing or writing. If you find it difficult for yourself to stop checking your email and social media, set aside 30 minutes every night where you can check it, preferably after the children go to sleep and everyone else is winding down.
Nothing will ever go perfectly, and there will definitely be bumps in the road, but stay calm. Don’t overreact. As the saying goes “turn lemons into lemonade”. Make the best out of every situation. Something may go terribly wrong, but you will most likely be able to laugh hysterically about it later that night. It’s usually the worst situations that make the best stories. Your positivity will hopefully rub off on your kids as well.
Say thank you
If you focus on being grateful for the time with your family and the experiences, you will be forced to brush the negatives aside. It’s easier to get annoyed than to be grateful, so keep reminding yourself all the things you have to be thankful for. Just stick to these tips and tricks and it will be smooth sailing from here on out.
This is a guest post.