What It’s Like to Vacation with Kids

Taking a vacation with kids is pretty much just parenting in a new location. They still run the schedule. They will not all of a sudden start sleeping in late, taking leisurely naps and contemplatively reading books on the beach. They don’t really care what you’re “supposed to do” on vacation.

For example, this is what might happen if you go somewhere where there’s a pool:

Two kids are sleeping. A single ray of sunlight appears to indicate it's frickin' early. The kids bounce out of bed, saying "POOOOOL!"

This is all fine as long as you realize beforehand what you’re getting into. Don’t be surprised if you take the kids to the aquarium and they ignore the fish in favor of running up and down some ramps. They’ll find something to interest them wherever they go, it just might not be what you think they should be interested in.

As a parent, the most relaxing thing you can do is just drop all your expectations of how the vacation should go, and enjoy whatever the kids are enjoying. Of course, try new activities and make plans you think will be engaging for the whole family. But if they want to go off and do something that wasn’t on the agenda, that’s cool. Just take a deep breath and roll with it.

One tip I do have is to try and stick to a regular routine even though you’re in an unfamiliar place. For example, every day, you might have breakfast, then do an activity, have lunch, nap/relax/play, have dinner, go to sleep. The more you can keep to a regular routine, the better the kids will adjust to the new location.

This idea of a regular routine was reinforced for me recently reading Simplicity Parenting. That book focuses on developing a routine at home, but I’ve found the same applies to being away from home. A regular routine seems to be comforting.

2 Responses to “What It’s Like to Vacation with Kids”

  1. Gary Gutcher
    January 6, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    The only thing in the universe that is more powerful than The Power of the Schwartz is The Power of the Pool. Case in point:
    Years ago, with elementery-school-aged-children, it became necessary for for my wife to take a career-driven promotion that based her in a city several hundred miles from home. It was only to be for a few months, but required acquisition of an apartment in that city and hiring a surrogate grandmother to help at home base. We announced this plan to the chioldren at dinner. The younger child’s response was the ever eloquent bowl-of-spaghetti-on-the-head. However, the older child began to sob quietly. When asked why, she blurted out, “You’re really just getting a DIVORCE, and you’re not TELLING me!”

    In a never-before-or-since equalled flash of brilliance, I proclaimed, “No, you don’t understand! We’re actually going to have TWO homes, AND the other one has a POOL!”. End of problem. Smiles all around…except for the astonished wife. The Power of the Pool at work…except for renegotiating the rental contract for an apartment in a building that actually had an indoor pool and, of course, the every other week drive I took on so we could swim in our pool.

    • Pierre Bastien
      January 7, 2012 at 2:00 am #

      I love that story Gary!