How to Really Enjoy a Summer Holiday with Kids

Family holidays can create some of the best memories of your kids childhood, but they can also be quite an ordeal for parents.  Read on for tips on how to enjoy your summer holidayw ith your kids this year.

Suddenly being together 24/7 plus all the anxieties that come with planning and organising a holiday can leave parents, particularly mums, stressed and on edge.  But there are plenty of ways to manage your own and everyone's else's expectations, and to keep everyone happy all holiday.

Planning as much as possible in advance means you will be able to relax and enjoy yourself when you get there.  Just remember to be flexible, so no-one feels they are on a military expedition rather than a holiday - a certain amount of go with the flow is OK too!

Be Present

Have a family meeting to find out exactly what everyone wants from the summer and your holiday.

Remember that you are what makes your child's life special.  Your time and attention is far more valuable than an expensive day trip or the latest must-have toy.

Get down on the floor and play, chase them around, kick a ball, get involved in colouring of small world play and laugh and smile.  Even if you're not feeling it initially, fake it 'til you make it and you'll soon be having as much fun as the kids.

What to Pack

Give each child their own bag or small case to pack so they can bring their most vital toys, books and other bits.  Make it clear that everything must fit in there too, no extras!

Bring other supplies like paper, crayons and colouring books too, and don't forget to pack some fun water toys for the pool. Have a supply of books, crayons, colouring books, audio books and small toys packed for the car or plane too. Making up some busy books or small packs can be handy for toddlers.

Plan the Journey

A little preparation will go a long way to make sure your journey is a smooth and fun experience.  It can also helps you save on costs.  Plan your journey meticulously, including drinks, snacks, ideas for car games, other activities, and loo and food breaks.

Packing snacks and drinks is particularly important when you’re travelling with kids.  No need to stop every time they need food and a new snack every so often goes a long way to keeping them content and entertained.

Having food and snacks with you means you don't have to worry about stopping so often, and can also save you plenty of money over the course of your trip.

Check your map or satnav well in advance and make sure you have at least two options for every car journey in case of horrendous traffic.  Seek out good stopping points along the way where you can get out, stretch your legs, burn off some energy, and see something fun and exciting at the same time.  Websites like What's Halfway can help.

Plan Your Days

Even in an exciting new place, we tend to go for the 'one day on, one day off' pattern with a busy day exploring or on an excursion followed by a day of not much.

Include a good mix of parent stuff (ruins, museums etc) and kids stuff (theme park, water park or other place to play) to keep everyone happy.  Throw in some options that will suit all of you too, such as a nature reserve or castle.

Chat about where you are going in advance and give children some of the background to the site or museum, or give them an idea of what wildlife to look out for.  You may be pleasantly surprised by what they get excited about if you make it exciting!

Swimming in the pool, playing in or near your accommodation, going for a walk, cooking or just hanging out make s a great 'down day' and helps everyone relax a bit more.

Plan Meals

Decide when you will eat out and when you will prepare your own meals if you're self-catering.  Take something with you for the first night, perhaps a large frozen dish that will defrost on the journey or sausages and burgers etc for a BBQ.

Have plenty of grab and go snacks with you at all times.  It's best to keep some in the car, some in your handbag or backpack, and some in the cupboard where you are staying.  Stressing over where and what to eat can make for very grumpy kids.

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