Spring break is just weeks away. Whether you’re going on a vacation or at home for a staycation, you want to create happy memories for you and your children. Here are the top tips I’ve learned from other moms or created myself to ensure everyone has space and quiet time they need to explore their interests, which usually results in a fun vacation.
Create a whine-free travel zone
You are not a bad mom if you think traveling with kids is stressful – it is! As a child, did you ever ask, “are we there yet?” It’s funny to think that when we were kids, we didn’t have DVD players built into our cars or DS’s to occupy our time. So how do we explain the fact that kids today still ask the same question again and again? My answer is – then and now – kids get bored without the right stimulation.
Top Four Travel Suggestions
#1 Peruse Itunes for a children’s audiobook
Download a classic or one of your favorite childhood books…or start a series. For younger kids (4-8), The Magic Treehouse, Curious George, or Madeline books are popular – for a reason. Kids 8-12 might enjoy Alex Rider, Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys, Judy Moody, and The Boxcar Children books. Older readers enjoy The Redwall, Keys to the Kingdom, and The Chronicles of Narnia series.
#2 Try something new…
Buy games that you reserve only for travel, so your kids experience the joy of something new. Good games include Old Maid, Travel Bingo, and Farkel. It could be something other than a game — a new sticker book, little containers of playdough, post-it notes, and crayons, or a disposable digital camera.
#3 Never underestimate the power of snacks
Pack some healthy foods that are a little different than what you usually have at home. Think grapes, cherry tomatoes, beef jerky, mini muffins, cheerios, fruit leather, and granola bars. You might want to stash some little boxes of sweetened cereal or skittles just in case.
#4 Beloved technology…
Some faithful backups include a new game for the DS or Leapster (Tip: You can rent DS and PSP games at Blockbuster), portable DVD player with movies and headphones, Mad Libs, or a new kid-friendly smartphone App.
Beat the Staycation Blues
You don’t get a medal for being with your child every minute of spring break; you get (more) gray hair! A week of vacation is a bigger routine change for your child than it is for you, so making sure they stay in some kind of routine where they spend time in a structured activity is a good thing. Don’t feel guilty – feel grateful that there are more activities offered than ever during the week of Spring Break.
If you don’t travel or send your child to camp, you can always make the argument for staying at home, sleeping late, reading, and watching TV in your pj’s. Either way, create a plan that works for your family and enjoy the week off.
© Eleanor Munson, Ph.D. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Eleanor Munson, Ph.D. is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Munson, Ph.D. with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.