Going on vacation sounds like a dream. That is until you’re actually on vacation. Just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean everyone is guaranteed to be happy!
Unfortunately, some families return home wishing they never went on vacation in the first place. Don’t let the fear of a bad vacation keep you at home! There are ways to keep both the kids and adults happy while you’re traveling.
Do Activities That Are Interactive
There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you plan activities on vacation. Something may sound fun but end up being extremely boring, either for the kids or for the adults. If you’re looking for something that is going to be fun for everyone, look for interactive activities.
For example, if you’re traveling in a busy area, look to see if there are any dinner shows. In Branson, Missouri, you’ll find plenty of interactive dinner shows, but one of the best is the Dolly Parton Stampede. The kids will love interacting with the animals, the adults will love not having to worry about dinner, and everyone will love watching the cool tricks done on horseback.
Whether it’s a children’s museum, a theme park, or an interactive dinner show, everyone will be glad you picked something fun and active.
Let Everyone Pick
Kids have been known to spend the majority of the vacation complaining about everything they have to do that they don’t want to do. Make it a little easier on everyone by giving each member of your crew the chance to pick what you do on vacation.
Open up the conversation and ask your kids what they want to do on vacation. Then, really listen. Even if they just want to hang out in the hotel room, pick an evening where everyone returns to the room early so you can pop some popcorn and watch a movie.
The kids get a turn to pick activities, but so do the adults. That way you can do what the kids wanted to do, but you also get to check out that cool history museum.
Adult Mornings, Kid Afternoons
Planning one thing to do all day long is just asking for trouble. Chances are, there’s one member of your group that doesn’t want to do that thing, which means they will be miserable the entire day. Instead, split up the day and do adult activities in the morning and kid activities in the afternoon.
Have a toddler who isn’t a morning person? Or a teen who hates getting up early? Switch the schedule so that you do kid activities in the morning. It may be just what you need to avoid morning meltdowns and convince tired teens to crawl out of bed. Do what works for your family!
Bring Something to Do
In a perfect world, the entire family would love every minute of every activity you choose. It’s much more likely that either the adults or the kids are going to be a bit bored at least every once in a while. Make it a little easier for everyone by making sure every member of your family has something to do.
A few ideas for things to bring include:
- Sand toys are a great idea for families who plan to spend the entire day on the beach
- Adults can bring a book to the playground while the kids play
- Teens can bring their phone to listen to music
- Tablets are great for entertaining kids in the car or at the dinner table
It’s tempting to try and do it all when you go on vacation. After all, you may never return to this particular location ever again! Even if it means missing out on some things, everyone in your group is going to be a lot happier if you take breaks.
Don’t overbook your vacation. Plan just one or two things to do every day. That way everyone can sleep in, go to bed early, take a nap, or just sit by the pool.
You can still take breaks if you’re away from the hotel all day. Bring a picnic lunch, take a quick snooze in the car, or sit in the air conditioning and lick ice cream cones. It will keep everyone from getting cranky and overtired.
Take Turns Taking the Lead Watching the Kids
Watching young children can be extremely tiring. It can also be dangerous. There are plenty of stories of children drowning in swimming pools even though they are surrounded by other people.
Instead of assuming the adults in the group always have an eye on the kids, take turns taking the lead. For example, when you’re at the pool or on the beach, designate a water watcher. That way other adults can read or snooze on the sand. Have someone take the lead at a theme park so children don’t wander off, and take turns getting up with the kids in the morning.
Share the Schedule
Family routines make life a lot easier at home, but they can make life easier when you’re on vacation too. When kids know what to expect, they are a lot less likely to be grouchy. Get up at around the same time, schedule activities at about the same time, and stick to a nighttime routine.
Part of having a routine is making sure your kids understand the routine. Tell young kids your plans for the day and talk about when you want to try and hit the hay. Give older kids a chance to negotiate so they feel like they have a say in the day, and be willing to adjust the schedule if it’s clear it’s causing your toddler to have a meltdown.
You aren’t guaranteed to be happy and have fun when you’re on vacation. You have to work at it, especially if you’re traveling with kids. With a little pre-planning and transparency, you can make sure every member of your crew makes positive memories.
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