Summer is usually an exciting time for children, as they enjoy being out of school and spending more time participating in fun activities. Many parents take advantage of their children’s summer vacation to plan family trips, which provides a time for all family members to spend quality time with each other. However, family vacations could suddenly change and become stressful for parents rather than fun and exciting. Many parents may become upset when their children do not seem to appreciate the places they are visiting or if their children demonstrate an increase of acting out behaviors.
Fortunately there are ways to lessen frustration in both parents and children who are traveling together. First off, it is important to provide children age appropriate information about the city or country they will be visiting. For example, telling your children about certain activities or events they may be interested in will increase their curiosity and optimism. Children tend to enjoy new places when they are able to relate to the new environment and make sense of different events, thus watching a child friendly movie or reading a book with your child based in that particular city would also increase curiosity. In addition, setting expectations and planning structured activities for children while on vacation may help reduce whining and acting out behaviors. Further, most children are used to their routines at home; therefore, it may be important to attempt to maintain some of that routine as much as possible during vacations. For instance, it may be helpful for parents of a child who is used to being read a bedtime story before bed to continue following that same bedtime routine on a trip. Many parents also report that it is helpful to pack some of their children’s favorite snacks while on trips to maintain some consistency in their eating habits, as they may be exposed to food that they may not be accustomed to.
In all, it is important to keep in mind that family vacations are meant to be fun, relaxing, and an opportunity for all family members to spend quality time together. Preparing for vacations and setting up expectations for children will lessen the burden that parents often face while on vacation with children.