Once again, we are scrambling around wondering how on earth we’re going to entertain our little terrors – sorry - *little delights* and it may leave you feeling uninspired.
Despite the lack of creativity, spending quality time with the kids, as a family, is just what the doctor ordered and you’re (secretly) on countdown.
But what if you do have plans for the half-term? And by plans, I mean a family holiday away from the hustle and bustle – sound ideal?
Absolutely! I hear you cry, but when the realisation dawns on you at what it actually means to holiday with kids *que mammoth tasks* the novelty can quickly wear off.
Don’t let this deter you – whether you’re travelling abroad or staying local, a holiday is a holiday and all the memories you create are priceless.
To help aid the stress of holiday prep, I have created a ‘checklist’ of what I believe are the focal points when travelling with toddlers, babies, children and as a family.
Lists are your friend: First and foremost, I recommend writing down everything that you think you will need or what you need to do before the holiday. This way, you can go back through the list and see how realistic you were. You’ll find that you can cut the list in half leaving you with just the essentials to contend with. Once you’re familiar with your ‘to-do’ list, you will feel a lot more enthusiastic and motivated to complete the list. Remember, by doing this, you take the stress off yourself and allows for you to break each task into smaller, more manageable jobs.
Pack wisely: Packing for yourself is a breeze but if you’re packing another 2-3 cases then it can become overwhelming. Similar to your ‘to-do’ list, write down everything you think you need to bring with you on your holiday. When you look back over your list, you’ll find that 10 pairs of pyjamas seems a little excessive (pjs are life FYI) and you may even have space left in your case?! Don’t forget all your chargers/technology that you can’t live without – top tip – keep all of the families together and pack these at the front of your case, so if your are travelling by plane then you can easily remove during security checks and save time.
Itinerary: Okay, so you’re on holiday, it’s all about relaxing rather than being so militant, but when you have toddlers who need entertaining 24/7, and who are used to routines, it’s essential to have an idea of what you can do each day. After all, you want the kids to burn off all that energy, so you can actually enjoy that glass of wine pool side, in peace! Whether you’re going abroad or venturing out on home soil, make a note of what there is to do to keep the little ones occupied. I would also become familiar with the food options nearby to your holiday location. Kids can be fussy at the best of times, so if you have a number of different choices, that should keep everyone happy. Failing that, I’m sure an ice-cream will fix everything!
Book activities beforehand: Be prepared and book all activities beforehand, if possible. There’s nothing worse than getting everyone together, spirits are high and then bam, plans are flipped upside down and you have crying toddlers to deal with for the rest of the day. Although this can be completely out of your control at times, by booking in advance, you are giving yourself breathing space and less things to worry about. It’ll be worth checking activities that are age appropriate too, after all, you want the kids to actually have fun and participate. Location and costs are also handy to know prior to the event. And who knows, the water park could be next door to a huge shopping centre, which you accidentally on purpose fall into whilst your partner watches the kids…
Essentials for journey: Before the holiday begins, entertainment for the journey is vital. If the travel time is long, then you do not want to be caught out with a toddler who doesn’t understand how to wait patiently. Now, for some parents, technology may be a no-go, but when I’m travelling and I want it to be as pain free as possible, I would take along my son’s tablet. Using the tablet doesn’t have to be a bad thing, switch between cartoons and educational games to keep a happy medium. If technology isn’t on the agenda, get creative with a colouring book and even stickers – you can also join in on the fun. Whatever it is that you know will keep your occupied then do that. It’s your holiday too remember.
Food/snacks: Yes, this is absolutely an essential! Whether your kids are foodies or not, bring along a packed lunch for the ride. Now if you’re travelling by plane, you may need to purchase food from the airport, but if you are travelling by train or car then I would always carry a mini picnic. Kids can catch you off guard and when you least expect it, they’re hungry, despite turning down the fruit you just offered *rolls eyes*. I would pack a variety of different snacks from fruit, sandwiches to the odd sweet treat. You know what your kids will and won’t eat, so no need to go crazy, just a couple of snack treats to keep the peace.
Passports/documents: Before you head off to your destination, check that all passports are in date, without this, you are limited to where you can travel too. If you’re holidaying in your hometown, then this is one less job for you. I would suggest checking over booking policies and all information about the resort before you get there. It’s good to cover all basis and have an in depth understanding of what is expected and what you need. The day of your holiday, it never hurt to check and check again that you have all the passports in tow or any documents you may need! Happy Holidaying!
Written by Laura, who you can follow on Twitter @LauraJadeC20