Parenting as Partners: Family Vacations
Don't assume that what is fun for the two of you will be fun for your children. If you consider your children's needs when you make your vacation plans, then the whole family will have a good time.
Family vacations play an important part in our memory of childhood. They are times when everyone is together, on the same schedule, eating meals together, and having a good time. Hopefully, everyone is less stressed than usual and the emphasis is on being together and having fun. But remember, what is fun for an adult is not necessarily fun for kids.
What's fun for children? Well, we can start by naming what is not fun for kids. Fancy meals, grand hotel lobbies, art museums, and good shopping. Kids like simple foods, outdoor activities, parks, swimming pools, and games. And they often need physical activity each day to release energy!
There are many ways to ensure that your children will have their needs met and that you will also have some time with each other on your next vacation. Here are three ideas:
Many hotels now have children's programming on weekends and during the summer. It ranges in price, so be sure to ask ahead about the rates. Your children will be able to get some exercise, eat hamburgers, and spend the day or evening doing things that children like to do. Meanwhile, you and your spouse can do things that the two of you enjoy. Try to use the children's programming about half of the time sothat you will still have family time, too.
Go to a family camp. There are more and more family camps cropping up. They usually have dormitory-style food served three meals a day with activities for different age groups at various hours throughout the day. You have a set price for the vacation, so you don't need to worry about being surprised with the restaurant bill. The activities for your children are also included in the price, and if you are taking a full week of vacation, it will usually be less expensive than a hotel's children's programming. Plus, at a family camp, family activities tend to be built in as well, such as arts and crafts and a talent show.
You might consider bringing along a baby-sitter or your parents. In exchange for the plane fare and food, you can trade for a certain amount of baby-sitting every day. This can be especially useful in the evenings when your children are asleep anyway. You can spend most of the day with your family and have many of the evenings for the two of you. If you are driving to your vacation destination, this can be a very cost-effective way to get some time to yourselves.
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Marriage © 2001 by Hilary Rich and Helaina Laks Kravitz, M.D. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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