After not only surviving–but enjoying–a family vacation last weekend, I thought it would be a good idea to make a list of family vacation survival tips since… a) lists are good and b) since most of us will be venturing off into the wild world of 24/7 bonding time with
a bunch of screaming maniacs our children.
1. Divide and conquer.
Togetherness is overrated, isn’t it? Meaning, all four of you, or three of you or whatever number you are, don’t have to go to the beach or the go-carts or wherever every moment. One kid wants to go swimming while the other kid wants to roam the halls looking for salamanders? Finnnne. Break up the party and we’ll meet back at the pool. This will help you get around to understanding (if you haven’t already) that this is not your vacation. This is your vacation with your children. Sneak a kiss on the rowboat ride if your kids aren’t screaming to row the boat or romance each other on the hotel room terrace (or bathroom-hey, why not?) once the little ones are passed out.
2. If it’s a large family party, break up the seating arrangement. Often.
There were about 18 of us in our group and though we had two tables, we switched around, allowing children to sit with aunts and uncles, or grandparents to sit with their grand kids. It was a nice variety because no one got too sick of each other (unless you were sitting with me, because I typically spent my time repeating myself “Eat your food, eat your food, eat your food. Dessert after you eat your food. Okay fine just eat the dessert.”)
3. Let the kids roam free a bit.
I’m on the Lenore Skenazy thought process here: when my kids are on vacation, I give them more freedom. I’m not suggesting they disappear, but I don’t mind taking my eyes off of them for a little bit. For instance, this weekend, Elmo and Snow White and Kermit the Frog and every other character under the sun stood in the lobby of the main dining room of the resort, and instead of corralling my 3 1/2 year old, I encouraged her to walk around the corner to give Elmo a handshake. On her own. Because isn’t this part of vacation (even though it’s not your vacation)? Letting go a little bit?
4. This brings me to letting it go. Let it go.
Last year, my letting it go involved bearing my mummy tummy. This weekend, I did something I never would have done if I wasn’t so desperate to have a break from my kids. Zip lining! Yes. I flew across 600 feet of line 50 feet up in the air and then free-fell on a Tarzan style rope, just to escape the sibling bickery! My husband and I went with a few other family members (while some of the others watched the kids). Though I was completely terrified, I conquered some serious fears. (Vertigo, vomiting, heights, anxiety, the list goes on.) Plus, I went back to my kids with such strength. Hey, your mama can do anything. So can you.
If you have more ideas, please share yours in comments below.