There is a common understanding amongst parents of toddlers that holidays of any description are something to be endured rather than enjoyed; at least until your children are old enough to stop having temper tantrums and are able to entertain themselves at least some of the time. Holidays with kids can be a challenge. You can’t lie on a beach all day reading a book and topping up your tan when you have young children. Kids expect entertainment 24/7 even if a lovely golden beach is only a few metres away. So how can you ensure that you have fun on your annual family holiday and avoid the usual meltdown?
Plan Your Break like a Military Operation
The key to a successful holiday with small children is to plan it carefully. Whilst it is possible to skip out of the door with a small suitcase and a smile, only the very brave or foolhardy would attempt to go on holiday with less than the kitchen sink in tow. Small children need all kinds of accessories. Favourite toys, medication, a buggy, multiple changes of clothing, insect repellent and sun cream are just a few of the items you can’t afford to forget.
To avoid histrionics at the airport or hotel, make a list before you travel, check it twice, and delegate all of the packing to one individual so that nothing gets missed in the process.
Divide the Childcare
Taking care of toddlers is tiring and at some point, we all need a break. It is only fair that the childcare is divided equally between two parents at all times. You both need a break and expecting the other person to traipse in and out of the sea or play with the kids all day long while you fall asleep with a long drink and a short book is deeply unfair. Agree up front who does what and if you can’t agree, then agree to do everything together instead.
Do a Risk Assessment
You probably know your own home and the places you frequent with your toddlers like the back of your hand. No place is 100% safe, but holidaying abroad is always a minefield of disasters waiting to happen. From balconies to swimming pools, be hyper-vigilant of the dangers in the immediate area. You don’t have to spend a week suffering from anxiety attacks every time your toddler goes for a paddle, but it is sensible to check whether there are swimming pool surrounds or a fence to protect little ones at your holiday villa, or lifeguards at the picturesque beach you like, just in case your older kids get into trouble.
Despite my words of doom in the first paragraph, holidays with toddlers can be enormous fun as long as you pick the right destination. It is best to stick to family-friendly resorts and destinations until the kids are old enough to enjoy nightclubs and pub-crawls, or you can bear to leave them behind. Until then, try and relax. Ideally, the kids will be so worn out after a long day on the beach that they will sleep in the following morning and you can enjoy a long overdue lie in. Here’s hoping!