About Time: You Travelled with KidsBy Angelica Malin
Children are amazing because they can be the source of endless joy – however, they can also make you feel incredibly drained, even when you are supposed to be relaxed. We don’t blame you though, because society teaches you that you always need to put your children first before yourself or your partner. Sometimes, your amazing family trip can make you feel like you need to sit down on your couch or bed and sleep, or watch TV and relax. Exhausted from chasing the kids around? Ensure some “ME/US” time by giving the kids something to watch. Or simply keep up on your series.
Here are some pro tips you can use to carve some alone time and recover from the kids – for your sake.
Know the difference between a family trip and vacation
When you are traveling with kids, it is easy for excitement of seeing your children happy carries you away, and you forget that you need to make yourself happy as well. That makes it important to learn to distinguish between a family trip, and a vacation where you go alone, or with your partner.
Set aside money for both activities, and go for a vacation without the kids – it will help you be a happier parent and partner in the long term.
Be honest with yourself about the best strategies to use
It can be slightly easier to travel with kids when you have a partner by your side, but it can be tricky when you are a single parent and trying to keep your kids in check on your own. Handling kids is tough, but you need to remember that you cannot do it alone – especially when you have more than one child to care for.
Depending on the ages of your children, your options will definitely shift with time, as taking care of older kids is significantly easier. Take stock of what you can handle before the trip comes and avoid taking on too much responsibility.
One idea to make vacation extra special for the younger ones and assure some quiet time by giving them something to watch. Usually it’s not recommended to “bribe” kids with TV, but its vacation! One idea is to give them something foreign to watch to expand their horizons. For example, let them watch British tv; there’s some great quality programming for young children and its never too late to expose your adolescents to some British wit and witticism, or even a foreign accent. In fact, here’s a little-known fact: if you watch an animated show using a VPN, for example “Paw Patrol” on a British VPN, the characters will have a British accent!
If you have very young kids to watch over and you are handling them alone, avoid going to very crowded areas, for instance – the beach, or an amusement park. You will only be miserable the whole time while your children are running everywhere, so consider going with them to these places when they grow older.
Keep your bed separate from the kids
When you are a parent, you quickly discover that spending alone time is not an option; it is something you must deliberately set out to do. After all, you are with your kids all the time, but you must remember something – the bedroom is still sacred.
That makes it very important to ensure your children always sleep alone, because it will give you some time to enjoy by yourself and enjoy some uninterrupted time with your partner.
Opt for family-friendly hotels with kids’ clubs
The good news about traveling with kids is that there are many family friendly hotels, where you can leave your kids to spend time there throughout the day as they play with hotel staff and other kids. Some hotels will even offer babysitting services, so that you can use that time to go for dinner with your partner.
Take advantage of the presence of the rest of your family
No man is an island – and we are sure you never raise your kids alone. You might not have thought much of it before, but consider that you have a whole community of friends and family who are willing to take in your kids for some time, while you take a break from the young ones and have a relaxing time.
Use the connections you have to your extended networks, take the kids to their homes to spend a day or night, and get that chance to have some alone time. It can even work for vacations too – if you are going for a trip with extended family or friends, they can take in your kids for an evening while you relax.
Manage the expectations of all parties
When dealing with young kids, it is easy to have them expect things that will not happen or have low chances of happening – yet these are the reasons they are so excited. For instance, asking whether your ex-partner will come along for a trip.
However, it is important to reduce those expectations, because it is very easy for them to be disappointed – they might not even want to understand why it is not happening in the first place. Have a talk with them, and get to understand why they feel that way, and this will help them to adjust, in case there will be something that will be missing.
Taking alone time even when you are with kids is not a selfish decision – it is necessary for your own wellbeing.