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
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