WE’RE ALL GO­ING ON A sum­mer hol­i­day!

Travel… with kids. It’s ac­tu­ally worth it (de­spite all the has­sle) thing that keeps your finely tuned do­mes­tic ma­chine oiled dur­ing work- and term-time. But al­low your­self to ex­hale, now, and en­joy the lee­way your lit­tle one can cope with. You’ll see by s

Your Baby & Toddler - - Contents - BY MAR­GOT BERTELSMANN

Wor­ried about the up­com­ing hol­i­days? Here’s a nugget of par­ent­ing truth for you: what your chil­dren want (what they re­ally, re­ally want – even if they don’t al­ways know it) is time with you. If you can keep that in mind as you plan your an­nual break, you’re win­ning. You re­ally don’t have to pro­vide ex­trav­a­gant get­aways for your chil­dren to so­lid­ify your re­la­tion­ship. So be­fore you get caught up in the hol­i­day one-up­man­ship that can char­ac­terise the end-of-year break, read this – and ex­hale.

EV­ERY­BODY NEEDS A BREAK

Hol­i­days, at their best, pro­vide a rare op­por­tu­nity for time to slow down, for days to stretch out, so that you and your child can look at each other, and be amazed by each other. It’s no co­in­ci­dence hol­i­days are so of­ten the time your child achieves a new mile­stone or sud­denly grasps a new con­cept such as toi­let train­ing or sleep­ing through the night. Tough tasks feel safer in the warm em­brace of your favourite peo­ple.

If hol­i­days are the time your chil­dren see more of a par­ent – of­ten Daddy – than dur­ing term-time, it can be so re­ward­ing to watch their re­la­tion­ship with the more­ab­sent par­ent blos­som again. Hol­i­days change the fam­ily dy­namic – re­flex cries of “Mommy!” be­come cries for Mommy or Daddy, which­ever one is closer.

DUMP­ING THE DAILY GRIND

Hol­i­days can stretch chil­dren. As ev­ery­one be­gins to un­wind, so we let our par­ent­ing rules slacken. Baths hap­pen once ev­ery cou­ple of days, bed­times shift, meals are ir­reg­u­lar. It’s a great time to ob­serve how your chil­dren cope with less struc­ture and fewer rules. It’s also good for you, A-type Mama! We know plan­ning and or­gan­i­sa­tion is the only

KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BEACH BALL

But hol­i­days are for both par­ents and chil­dren. You have a hard year of work­ing and par­ent­ing be­hind you, and you de­serve to re­store your­self, for your own good and for that of your fam­ily. Sim­i­larly, your chil­dren en­joy and need time off from se­ri­ous stuff such as school (or playschool), rou­tine and rush, and they need slow, con­stant ac­cess to just their fam­i­lies for a stretch of time.

We know travel with chil­dren can be stress­ful, so much so that Cana­dian au­thor Bunmi La­di­tan, bet­ter known as the cre­ator/owner of Twit­ter sen­sa­tion @hon­est­tod­dler, says it’s “an ad­ven­ture, but it’s not a hol­i­day”. And she’s right. You do have to curb your ex­pec­ta­tions: if the only va­ca­tion you can imag­ine is long, lazy, tipsy, un­in­ter­rupted sun-catch­ing by the side of a sparkling blue pool – then you are not go­ing away on hol­i­day with your tod­dler!

But you can rede­fine what a hol­i­day is. And there are ways of try­ing to meet both the adults’ and the chil­dren’s needs, as long as you’re all willing to com­pro­mise a lit­tle here and there. YB

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