Holidaying as a family is something we love. The new sights, experiences, and memories created are priceless. However, as a parent I am mindful that at times these experiences can put a strain on my ability to feel in control of the parenting game. By game, I mean ensuring the rules and expectations I have at home are lived up to on holidays. The reality is, everyone wants to have fun, and discipline is boring. I believe it’s important to change your parenting style whilst travelling. I often get asked by parents how we manage the mundane parenting tasks whilst travelling. As every travelling family knows, you can’t avoid parenting your children whilst on holidays however some modifications I believe can set you on the right track.
Here are some tips to help you change your parenting style whilst travelling
Set New Rules & Consolidate Them
Engage your kids in a conversation before your holiday about your expectations of their behaviour and how life will be different− and why. Discussing your expectations will help you consolidate new rules. If your children are too young, do this exercise on your own or with your partner and write down what holiday rules you may want to introduce.
Children love boundaries so discussing what your holiday rules are will consolidate those expectations for both parent and child. What rules are you leaving behind? Maybe the early bedtime will be compromised on holidays. Discuss what is staying and coming. We have a different way of speaking about rules once on holidays. For safety, we make it light-hearted, yet we get our message across as we only mention it when necessary. For example, we discuss the superglue rule and the kids know it means invisible glue goes on our hands. We hold hands and we don’t let go − because we can’t!
Once you get to your destination, let everyone settle in. It will be essential, especially if you’re experiencing jet lag. If you are tired and cranky, this will decrease your tolerance so avoid having high expectations during this settle-in period. Give everyone a three-day exclusion period.
Focus on the Basics
Whilst holidaying, we set some basic behaviour expectations but also are very strict on rules that need to be put in place for safety reasons. I would much rather for my child to listen when it’s time to hold my hand in a busy train station, than to make their bed or brush her teeth before bed. Let it go, focus on the basics.
Share the Load
Share the parenting load with your partner, spouse or another guardian. Good cop, bad cop will only result in a bad cop feeling disheartened and this system has the potential to ruin the holiday. Same goes with the mundane chores, share them around so each parent feels the holiday really is a holiday.
If possible, plan some alone time for each parent. Here are some ideas: a brisk walk first thing in the morning or a solo visit to a gallery are great ways for a parent to have small snippets of time away from being responsible for children. Independent time seems like a simple idea, yet can have you feeling re-energised to take on those parenting hurdles.
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I hope that these tips can have you adjusting to becoming a travelling parent. By adopting a new focus and changing your parenting style whilst travelling you can let the fun of holidays begin!
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If you have any tips or recommendations that you adopt when travelling as a family I would love to hear them.