Exploring a new destination is a fantastic opportunity to help your child learn and grow.

As a parent, there are plenty of little things that you can do on a daily basis to support your child’s early education and development. Incorporating similar techniques into a family holiday can enhance your child’s curiosity, amplifying their ability and desire to learn as they experience a part of the world that is completely new to them and unexplored.

In addition to providing an amazing learning experience for your children, family holidays are one of the best ways to create memories that you will all treasure for a lifetime.

But travelling with a family, particularly with small children, can be stressful.

Planning a holiday for more than just yourself and your spouse requires a greater deal of effort and energy, and managing your schedule while you are away from home can be overwhelming.  Balancing the unique needs and interests of each of your children can be quite the task, especially when you do not often travel together as a family.

Luckily there are lots of little tips and tricks out there to help you to plan the perfect family holiday.

Here are 4 tips to make family holidays relaxing so that you can make the most out of your time away from home!

1. Be prepared to leave a full day ahead of time

This is, admittedly, easier said than done. But if you can have all of your bags packed and waiting by the door well in advance of when you are ready to leave, then you can avoid all of the stress that comes from trying to rush about to get your family out the door as you’re trying to leave.

Try checking all of these tasks off of your to-do list:

  • Pack up everyone’s clothing and essentials to have suitcases waiting by the door
  • Get together a bag of snacks for the road trip or flight
  • Make sure that each of your children has a bag of activities and books to bring with them
  • Gather chargers for any laptops, cell phones, or tablets that will be with you during the trip.

Try to have these tasks accomplished the night before or, if you plan to leave in the evening, aim to be ready to leave by lunchtime.

Inevitably something will come up at the last minute, but this will help to leave you more time to address those things as they come about.

2. Remember to schedule time to relax

It may seem a little strange to schedule relaxation into your holiday; after all, isn’t relaxation the point?

However, most families think about all of the things that they want to do and see while they are on holiday, and in doing so forget that they also need time to recover their energy after long days of exploring.

Children, especially young children, need time during the day to rest. Remembering to schedule naps during the day will reduce the risk of finding yourself with an upset toddler on your hands in the evening. Even older children may need some “quiet time” to recover their energy.

If your children are old enough to forego naptime and quiet time then you could even find things to do outside of your hotel that will give everyone a chance to relax. Here are a few ideas:

  • Go to see a movie or a local play
  • Take a bus tour if you are travelling in a new city
  • Enjoy a picnic in a beautiful park
  • Make an extended stop in a unique ice cream shop.

Giving your children – and yourself – a chance to recoup some energy every day will ensure that you are all able to enjoy your holiday, free of meltdowns and anxiety.

3. Leave some flexibility in your schedule

Even the most perfectly laid out schedule is likely to go awry at some point during your holiday.

Remember to leave some “wiggle room” in between activities. While there are plenty of things that you all will want to see and to do, odds are that you will accidentally spend more time somewhere than you had originally planned, or that you will discover something new that you want to explore.

This doesn’t mean that you should avoid scheduling anything at all. Just be open to changing your plans as you go. If you allow your original schedule to dictate the entirety of your family’s holiday, then you will always feel like you are racing against the clock. You will all be more relaxed if you allow yourselves to “go with the flow.”

You could also miss out on the spontaneous, unexpected moments that are often the most memorable parts of a holiday experience.

4. Plan your holiday together

Making all of the decisions for a holiday on your own both places additional pressure on your planning process and almost guarantees that at least one of your children will be unhappy at some point during the trip.

There are plenty of ways both large and small to involve your family in the planning process:

Pick the vacation destination together. In addition to being a bonding experience for your family, this also ensures that everyone has an opportunity to voice their opinion during the planning process.

Let each family member choose at least one activity that they would like to do during the trip. Your youngest child might be ecstatic at the thought of visiting a theme park, but your oldest might be less than thrilled. However knowing that, in exchange, they will get to visit something that they will truly enjoy will help to take some of the sting out of going along with their younger siblings’ events.

Talk about your plans for the day every day at breakfast. If everyone knows what to expect throughout the course of the day, then they will be less likely to express dismay or pick a fight over an activity that catches them by surprise. This also allows you to address potential disagreements before embarking on the day’s adventures.

Here at Harmony, we believe that each child should have the opportunity to explore and to grow.  We have incorporated that philosophy into our curriculum and invite you to contact us to learn more about the Harmony Difference and to see if our child care centre is right for your family!