Do you look forward to your family vacation all year but always feel like you spend most of the time either yelling or losing your patience? While everyone knows that family vacations can be stressful, that doesn’t make the disappointment of another lackluster trip any less upsetting.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are strategies that you can adopt to make sure that everyone enjoys your next family vacation and that you get to spend some quality time making memories with your kids.
Whether you’re planning a family vacation abroad or a trip closer to home, the tips and techniques below are guaranteed to help you to connect with your kids.
*Post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure can be viewed here.
Involve them in decision-making
If you haven’t decided yet where you’re going to go for your next family vacation, why not ask your kids where they would like to go or what they would like to do? By involving your kids in the decision-making process, they’re much more likely to be receptive to the trip and be more engaged in your plans.
Also, try to pick kid-friendly destinations rather than ones that are aimed at adults such as Oregon coast camping or a family-friendly hotel.
If your children are too young to make any major decisions, you can still talk to them about where you’re planning to go and what they can expect when you get there.
Say yes more often
Of course, you can’t say yes to everything they ask for when you’re on vacation, but you can say yes more often. Saying yes to things that you normally would say no to such as a double scoop of ice cream or staying up an hour later can make all the difference.
Furthermore, when you relax the rules a bit on vacation, your kids are more likely to feel relaxed and be in a good mood which can help you to connect better.
Be more present
Think about your last family vacation. When your kids shouted out for you to watch them in the pool, did you really pay attention or did you just say Wonderful, darling, and rush back to reading your book?
If it’s the latter, then you’re far from alone but that doesn’t mean that it’s the best way to act if you want to connect more with your kids. Instead, make the effort to be more present when you’re spending time with them and organize separate times when you can rest and relax on your own.
Limit the use of tech
There’s no getting away from the fact that today’s generation of children is heavily reliant on technology. Although this can be a good thing in some respects, in others, such as carving out quality time, it can be detrimental.
To make sure that you can make the most out of your family vacation time, it can be a good idea to limit the use of technology. For example, you may decide to only allow devices to be used late afternoon before dinner or just before bed to help them relax. Whatever you decide, make sure you stick to your guns and don’t back down.
Even if your idea of the perfect vacation involves laying by the pool, sipping cocktails through a straw, and soaking up the sun’s rays, this isn’t the best way to connect with your kids.
Instead, try to find ways to be a little bit more adventurous. This could involve trying a new water sport such as paddle boarding or kayaking or going off the beaten track to some of the less well-known local attractions.
If you’re not sure where to begin, then why not ask the locals what they do in their spare time? Where do they go with their kids to have fun?
Learn something new together
As well as trying new activities, taking the time to learn together can also be highly effective at bringing you closer. Depending on the age of your child, this could involve taking a local cooking class, booking a local tour, or visiting a museum.
Although this may seem like a lot of effort, especially when you’re on vacation, teaching your children to be curious about new places and new cultures is a valuable life skill that will benefit them in the future.
Embrace the unexpected
When traveling, either with or without kids, sometimes things happen that are beyond your control. However, what you can control is how you react to these situations. Rather than get stressed out, and start shouting or panicking, why not try and embrace the chaos and see it as part of the fun?
For those who can’t go on vacation without a set itinerary, this may be easier said than done, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get there. Start with something small such as trying a new place to eat, and you’ll soon be able to be more flexible and be able to connect with your kids in unexpected ways.
Make friends with other families
Although you may not want to share your family vacation with another family, you’ll be surprised at just how much kids love to make new friends when they’re in a new place.
Yes, this can sometimes mess up your plans, but it will be more than worth it to see the smiles on your kid’s faces. Plus, don’t feel like you can’t get involved with your kids and their new friends. Why not suggest a game of swimming pool volleyball or set up a pool competition?
Remember, it isn’t what you do that matters but the time you get to spend with your kids.
Connecting with your kids on vacation can seem like an impossible task, especially if you have older kids or teenagers who would rather do anything than spend time with their parents.
The key to success is to find some form of common ground. This could be a shared activity, a daily tradition, or really anything that you can bond over.