Going on holiday with family and friends can be an exciting and enjoyable experience, but it can also present its own set of challenges, especially when you have young kids. I'm Laura, a parenting coach, and I'd love to share some of my top tips to help you handle the situation effectively.
We've had some wonderful holidays with family and friends over the years, but when you choose to use positive parenting methods, that can sometimes clash with family or friends who raise their children in different ways. And sometimes, especially when our kids were little, we didn't get it right. So here's your opportunity to learn from my mistakes!!
Even if your parenting values do align, talking things through in advance is always going to help.. ( PS: This is Article 2 of my Summer parenting series - you might want to read article 1 first)
Plan ahead: Before the trip, communicate with your family and friends about your expectations, schedules, and any special needs or requirements for your kids. This will help everyone be on the same page and minimise misunderstandings during the holiday. Discuss your parenting values and how they align with others, navigating potential differences in parenting approaches. (can they 'tell them off?'). Let's take an example. For you, it's okay for your children to simply get down from the table when they've finished eating. For the other family, they expect their children to sit at the table until everyone has finished. How are you going to navigate that?
Set realistic expectations: Understand that traveling with young children can be unpredictable and may require adjustments to your plans. Be flexible and open to changes, and make sure your family and friends understand this as well.
Communicate openly: Maintain clear and open communication with your family and friends throughout the trip. Discuss any concerns or issues that arise and work together to find solutions. Keeping everyone informed will help prevent misunderstandings and foster a supportive environment. When you disagree (because at some point, you will!), practice empathy and understanding: Try to put yourself in the other person's shoes and understand their perspective. Sometimes, conflicts arise due to misunderstandings or differing opinions. Showing empathy and attempting to understand their point of view can help diffuse tension and open the door for better communication.
Establish boundaries: It's essential to set boundaries to ensure the well-being of your children. Communicate any specific rules or limitations for your kids' safety and comfort. Respectfully discuss these boundaries with your family and friends, so they understand and can support your efforts.
Schedule breaks from each other: Holidays can be exhausting, especially for young children. Plan regular breaks or downtime to allow your kids to rest and recharge, with just your 'mini' family, not with the whole group. This will help prevent meltdowns and create a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
Involve others: Don't hesitate to delegate responsibilities to your family and friends. Share the load of childcare tasks, such as meal preparation, entertainment, or supervising activities. By involving others, you'll have more time to relax and enjoy your holiday. This is a great one to talk through in advance - who loves to cook? Who'd prefer to hang out with the kids and not cook? How much do you want the kids involved in chores?
Maintain a routine: While it's natural to deviate from your regular routine while on holiday, and to try and fit in with others, try to maintain some semblance of consistency for your kids. Stick to their sleep and mealtime schedules as much as possible, as this can help them feel more secure and reduce the chances of meltdowns.
Consider planning activities that cater to the different interests and energy levels of each person on the holidays. Make sure you plan in some 'just hanging out at the local playpark' time too.. Engaging them in age-appropriate activities will keep them entertained and prevent boredom.
Enjoy quality time: Remember to take moments to enjoy quality time with your family and friends. While managing young kids can be demanding, cherish the opportunity to create lasting memories together. Take photos, share laughter, and enjoy the experiences, knowing that these moments are precious.
By implementing these parenting tips, you can help ensure a smoother and more enjoyable holiday experience for both your family and friends, as well as your children.
Remember to communicate openly, set boundaries, and prioritize the well-being and needs of everyone involved.
Want to know more about how I work as a parenting coach? Book a no-pressure 20 minute call with me to discover more about my brain-science based, heart-led approach, and how I can support you in transforming your family.