Planning a Vacation with Children

Planning a Vacation with Children

There are many sources of information for taking your children on vacation. You can read books, magazines, and blogs. You can ask your friends and relatives. You can search the internet.  So this blog post will not give details. My hope is to give you two overarching ideas that can guide you in incorporating and integrating all the information you come across and choose to use.

Children are quite unpredictable in their reactions to vacations. Some children seem to ‘shape up’ and be on their all-time best behavior. Other children seem to ‘collapse’ and situations that are small problems at home are suddenly difficult. If you are unsure how your child will react, or past experience suggests vacation may be a challenge, then try these two ideas.

Overarching idea A is to plan. This means thinking through, as best you can, what you will be doing on vacation and how you and your children might react to different situations that arise.  Identify likely trouble spots. Perhaps think about their behavior in the community or when visiting the homes of others. Then come up with some ideas to deal with the problems.  As noted, there are lots of ideas available. Remember what has worked for you in the past. Look at new ideas.  Select ones that fit your family. Practice them, acquire needed materials, and review with other adults who will be helping with your children on vacation. It may seem like a lot of work, but time spent planning can pay for itself many times over in a happier and less stressful vacation for everyone in the family.

Overarching idea B is to develop a vacation ‘plan of action’ or ‘pact.’ One part of the action plan is to focus on the positives, that is, for everyone to agree to focus on having fun or relaxing or whatever adjective best describes your overall goal. The second part is to avoid negatives, that is, everyone agrees to decrease negative behaviors or thoughts. This is where you can refer back to the likely trouble spots you have identified and potential solutions.  For example, if your children tend to argue, part two of the action plan might include ‘and we all agree not to argue and instead we will compromise.' A third part is to make the action plan ‘real’ for your family. For example, every one can put their hands together and say a phrase such as ‘we’ll have fun and get along’ or whatever you like. You can write the action plan down, draw it in pictures, or make up a story. Try to keep the pact short and simple, drawing attention to only the most important points, and keep it positive in overall tone. Then part four is to refer back to the ‘vacation pact’ when you have concerns about how the vacation is going, or just review periodically to reinforce and acknowledge how well everyone is doing.

So to summarize, the two overarching principles to remember are to plan ahead and to make it real with a vacation pact.




Blog Disclaimer:  Please be aware that this blog contains general information. It is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as treatment or a recommendation or prescription for a particular child. If you have questions about your child, please talk to your pediatrician or seek other professional services.