Tips for Stress-Free Family Vacations
It’s vacation time. For many families it’s a yearly tradition when plans are made and the kids get excited. Many families hope to take dream trips of a lifetime but end up experiencing nightmarish vacation disasters. What is the culprit? Stress, of course.
When a family goes on vacation for a week or longer there is normally a pretty major break in the usual routines which could result in stressful situations, especially for children. Add this routine disruption to the fact that the family is sharing close quarters for a number of days and it could spell stress overload and, consequently, disaster. Additionally, there is the mobilization effort – packing gear and lugging suitcases – all taking place amid the backdrop of creative discussions fueled by differing opinions about how time at the vacation destination will be spent in order to maximize “fun”.
Ways to Manage Stress on Vacation
Fortunately, there are ways to anticipate and curtail the stress involved in a family vacation.
• Retain at least part of your normal routine. As the structure of everyday life breaks down because of vacation activities and the kids become overwhelmed and exhausted, emotions can become unstable resulting in unpleasant mood swings. Keep a semblance of your routine by packing a “bedtime bundle” with your child’s special pillow or blanket along with other familiar items like their favorite bedtime books. Try to put your child to bed as close to regular bedtime as possible. As well as controlling behavioral swings, this will also allow time for adult relaxation.
• Buy what you can at the vacation spot instead of packing it. For example, beach toys tend to be large and cumbersome so packing them could be a real feat. Fortunately they also tend to be relatively inexpensive so buy them at the gift shops on the beach and pass them along to other children upon your departure. This will free up needed space while driving to and from your destination.
• Monitor the intake of your children’s vacation treats. While its part of the fun to eat new and different menu items, sugar levels can get out of control in a hurry. Limit sweet and otherwise unhealthy treats. The family dynamics will be less stressed when a healthy diet is in play.
Vacationing can be a family tradition that is fun and rewarding. By anticipating and minimizing some of the vacation ruining stressors you can build lasting memories for you and your children.