Getaways become child’s play
YOU’VE packed away the portable cot, you’ve not bought a packet of Dri Nights since Christmas and your youngest can now pour milk on their own cereal, spilling only half of it. Congratulations, you are officially ready for a family holiday, the kind that really is one for all and all for one.
Save the five stars for the reward chart at home: a rustic beach house or caravan by the lake will thrill the kids far more than maid service, which they no doubt have already.
Even in the middle of winter a beach-house holiday is an adventure. It means a little more rugging up than is required in summer, but the rates will be cheaper and it’s still a marvel to comb the rockpools in a beanie, scarf and gumboots, before returning to an open fire, toasted marshmallows, hot chocolate and a game or 12 of Uno. Make a plan PLANNING a family holiday can be a lot like planning dinner. You may think it is quicker and easier if you make all the decisions, but including children in the planning process helps avoid sulks and will buy you an afternoon to indulge in window shopping or a nice nap. Let each person choose one thing they want to do on the holiday and make it a rule that everyone joins in. Freddy may well decide he wants to go out for a breakfast of ice cream, but then you can always suggest a walk along the beach in the afternoon. Where to go LYING around a pool that forbids ‘‘ bombies’’ is never going to work if you’ve got boys. Neither is remote camping if you’ve a girl who likes to dress up for breakfast. Pick a place that incorporates at least one aspect of your child’s interest. It could be a city with an awesome dinosaur exhibition, or a dolphin sanctuary. Be active YOU may not be up for a day that begins with a hike, moves on to snorkelling, horse riding, golf, tennis, archery and finishes with water aerobics, but you can bet your children will be. An active holiday will sustain a child’s interest, and resorts such as Club Med have plenty of the above on offer. Check the age requirements for organised activities and kids’ club programs before you book. One holiday: one destination KIDS may seem like they are always on the move but when it comes to a holiday they are homebodies. Pick a place and make it your home for the whole trip. Whether it’s camping or travelling to Paris, moving the kids around can dim the sparkle of being on holiday. For them it’s simply tiring and boring. Get to know your new locale and enjoy the discoveries that come with spending more than a couple of days in a new city or town. Hotel happiness IF your getaway requires a hotel room, invest in two rooms with interconnecting doors. It’s your home away from home and you’ll find you spend more time in there than planned. Sharing one room with more than a partner and a portable cot will never be a holiday. It also gives you and your partner time alone, where you can pretend you don’t know that the kids are watching pay-per-view movies until midnight, dropping biscuit crumbs in their beds and falling asleep with their shoes on. And that’s what is called a holiday. Sarah Bryden-Brown is the editor of www.kidspot.com.au.