Wednesday, 10 December 2014

So, you're travelling... with kids... at Christmas... OH DEAR.

You're smiling... for now
Climbing the walls
  Every year we do it to ourselves! We make that decision to either stay at home and face the onslaught of relatives and inevitable family disasters, laced with a demolished house, the clean up that goes with hosting a Christmas feast and the inevitable declaration to our better halves at the end of the day (if you're still on speaking terms) that you're NEVER going to do that again!!!

Or, you fool yourself into thinking a little trip away with the kids, to escape the rush and chaos of Christmas at home might be the better way to go. You're wrong!!!!!

But, if you're going to do it anyway, then you're going to need some help. So, here it is.
Use Santa as your trump card!

1. SANTA DOESN'T BRING PRESENTS TO KIDS WHO ARE NOISY ON PLANES!
Happy family flight... or is it?

Car trips are so much fun... NOT
This is the sentence that will bring you much joy. It's more effective than a lollipop. Than a gobstopper. Than actually pushing them out the window of the plane itself. Use it wisely and sparingly. Keep it secret. Keep it safe.


2. CAR TRIPS

A messy example...car crash waiting to happen
Did we really need all this?
In a nutshell, avoid them at all costs. If there's no alternative, and you're keen on a divorce, then I suggest packing plenty of visual tools - iPads (with headphones), toys they've never seen and for god's sake, keep all snacks and toys to a "non mess" standard. There's no faster way to crash your car than by the distraction of a spilled yoghurt or dropped bottle of juice all down the back of your neck.

Find a new kitchen sink!
3. LEAVE THE KITCHEN SINK AT HOME

That's right, a lighter pack is a happier pack. You may think you neeeeeeed the prams, the bikes, the extra outfit options for each child in case of every weather scenario, the bath toys, the sand castle building implements... but you don't. And neither does your back or your sanity.  When kids are in a foreign environment, the last thing they want is their "old" toys. They are happier (and healthier) being introduced to the joys of completely new surrounds and all the adventures that can go with it. We all know most of it never makes it home with us anyway!
Oh, a conversation... about television

4. TURN IT OFF!

We often feel like the kids call the shots. We get to that breaking point where we believe it's just easier to let them have whatever they (think) they want rather than argue and start world war three. So, what's the answer... don't even have the option. When you're away from home, you have the perfect excuse and they can't argue with you... "we didn't bring the xbox". "This villa doesn't have Foxtel".  "There's no wifi in paradise". Go outside and play!!!

5. INTRODUCE THE RAINBOW OF FOODS!

We all think we know our kids. But think back to when you used to HATE seafood... (hopefully, you've grown out of that one). Holidays away are the perfect chance to see where your ever-evolving kids' tastebuds are at. Don't be shy. It's not just stuff they've never tried before, it's stuff that's simply cooked differently than at home. Perhaps leave the ingredient details out of the conversation until they've finished.

busted kissing!!
6. MARTYRS HAVE NO FUN

You've worked so hard, you and your partner, to get to this stage. If you're on a holiday, with your kids at Christmas time, then that's all that needs to be said. You deserve a break!! Book ahead and line up one night, that's the bare minimum, just one night, with a local, highly recommended babysitter that you're comfortable with, and take some time alone, without the kids. It will be the difference between a trip from hell and a trip from purgatory. Chances are, if the kids do even notice that you've gone, they're going to appreciate you more for having some self respect. My small tip, if they're not already asleep when you leave, make sure you sit them down and give them a really adult explanation of what's happening. Mum and Dad are going out for dinner. Our friend "Flossy" is going to be here to hang out. We have our phone. We love you. We will be home soon.
Be a big kid!
Stop and smell the sea water

7. TAKE THE TIME

The whole point of going to all this effort is to spend some quality time together as a family. Let's face it, chances are some sort of drama or disappointment has already gone down, either with missed flights, sick kids, under-parr accommodation, stolen wallet, torrential rain, missing cat, flat tyre, etc etc... so why not use this opportunity to stop caring about all the logistics, all the usual cares of your world and just sit for a bit, with your kids. Do NOTHING. Breathe. Watch the clouds. Pick flowers. Build sand castles. Write a letter to Santa. Whatever it is, just reconnect with your kids. It's the "Holiday Mum and Dad" that they will remember for the rest of their lives - and quite probably describe you as at their wedding... so make it good.

Too young to care
8. BREAK ALL THE RULES
Or your family photos will look like this

Put the camera away. Remember the moments. Stop tidying up. Eat chocolates. Let the kids stay up late and look for shooting stars. Build a bonfire (except on extreme fire danger days). Turn off your phone. Sleep in. Let the kids sleep in bed with you. Play loud music. Dance like a parent. Tell Dad jokes. Be sprung kissing in front of the kids. Play in the rain. Be a kid again, with your kids... show them how its done... and let them show you how it's done again!!!
Sleep ins are the BEST!
Touch the sky butterfly!
























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