Mom and play expert Meredith Sinclair shares her advice for making awesome vacation memories!
Expert advice for a seamless family vacation
Our kids have polar-opposite interests. Any ideas for helping them keep a positive attitude when we’re doing something that bores them to death?
Before you tumble into a bottomless pit of sibling squabbles over summervacation activities, set your kids up for success with a family powwow about the importance of putting ourselves in someone else’s sneakers. Make it special by setting up an old-fashioned ice-cream social with your kids one night before break begins … because all discussions are much better over ice cream. (School already out? It’s not too late!) As everyone is enjoying treats, bust out a giant poster board titled “Family Summer Fun” and have your kids help you make a list of all trips, adventures, and shenanigans they want to experience over the next few months, using different colored markers for each child’s suggestions. Then take a moment to look at the list together and talk about what it would be like if you took only one person’s ideas and ignored all the others. How would the other family members feel? Finish up by having your crew come up with a couple of ideas to help make sure
everyone has a great summer vacation, like picking a different colored suggestion from the list each week or having one child be the official photographer during an activity he’s not that into.
We’d love our kids to be more involved in planning our trips. How can we get them started?
Easy! Have your older kids put that screen time they love so much to good use: Provide websites, travel magazines, and brochures to assist them with their vacation research, and task your tribe with putting together a creative Powerpoint presentation describing one possible road trip and one trip that would require, say, a plane. Ask them to include photos, activities, hotels, or campgrounds they like, and other cool trip advice they find. Younger siblings can join in by creating additional low-tech visual aids—like drawing pictures or pasting photos on sheets of cardstock.
The post-vacation blues are real in our house, especially after visiting much-beloved long-distance family. How can we help the kids make the transition to home when they’re missing their cousins sooo much? It’s hard to see vacation come to an end, especially when it was everything we hoped for and more! Here are a couple of simple ideas to help ease everyone back into real life once the party’s over:
If you don’t have one already on the calendar, schedule a weekly phone call or Facetime with the relatives you’re missing. It sounds simple, but making a date to reconnect with far-off family gives everyone something to look forward to each week and makes the after-vacay weeks less abrupt and sad. Be sure to arrange the first one a day or two after you get home.
Create a collective memory board commemorating all the great times you had! One of my favorite quotes is “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” To help your gang shift from feeling blue about saying goodbye, celebrate their new memories. Print out some of the photos you took while away and gather a few souvenirs from your trip (movie stubs, pictures from brochures, tickets to places you visited … ). Then grab some markers and glue sticks, put on some fun music, and create a collage together. Hang it in the kitchen!