It’s summertime and many families take vacations. But have you ever felt as though you need a vacation to recover from your vacation?
The problem is that a lot of us pack our vacations with so much to do so that we aren’t sitting around our hotel rooms doing nothing. We want to keep the kids entertained and away from those electronic devices. Spend time together as a family. And, with everything we want to do as a family, it is inevitable that the children become overstimulated and have meltdowns or temper tantrums.
Vacations are supposed to be relaxing. A time away from work and our normal schedules. Time together as a family to help strengthen those bonds. So treat it as such.
Staycations are a great way to do this. Yes, you are home, in a familiar environment. But spend it relaxing. Taking naps, watching movies. Playing board games. Playing outside with outdoor activities. Go to an local park with a picnic lunch. A vacation doesn’t have a cost you a thing. Everyone has down time to recharge the batteries. It is exactly what it needs to be.
But what if you need to get away? Go to a fun destination or visit with out of town family? These are great vacations and can serve the same purpose as a staycation. But, the key is to not over-plan. You’ve paid for the hotel room for the entire day, not just the evenings. Use it! Plan a few activities, yes. But make sure you have plenty of downtime as well. You still need to recharge those batteries. You need to de-stress. So take care of yourself while you are out of town. Not every minute has to be jam packed with something to do. Bring board games with you to play – especially on really hot days. Stay in the air conditioning for awhile. You cut down on the stimulation to your children so they feel relaxed.
Don’t forget – you are the parent. You are in charge of the vacation – not them. You are still in charge of them, so you need to protect them from overstimulation just as you would at home. If you are at a resort, like Disney – stay for a few hours, then go back to the hotel. You can always go back to the park after a nap and a relaxing lunch. Disney also has a great feature where you can schedule times for a certain ride. But this takes planning.
Planning is your key to a great, relaxing vacation. But you don’t have to plan every single detail and every single moment. Be flexible.
My son, my mom and I take a “family vacation” every year. I put it in quotes because it is during Nationals for my son’s dance studio. We go to Wisconsin Dells every year so he can compete against other studios for the big trophy. But amid all the dancing, we manage to have some fun together. In years past we have stayed at resorts that have a water park. But as he’s grown older, he is less enamored with the water park and prefers a pool and a hot tub.
We always go to the deer park. Every year for the past 8 years, we have gone to the deer park to feed tame deer and other animals. He loves it (even at 16). It makes him smile when the deer come up to him and eat treats from his hand (you can buy deer treats at the park). They even let you pet them. He is so patient with the skittish ones, sitting on the ground and holding a treat for them. This, while an activity, is very relaxing for him because he loves animals so much.
This year we had all day Friday to ourselves with no dancing. We started the day with a horse-drawn wagon ride through some canyons. Then we drove to a cheese factory outside of the Dells and ended the afternoon with a visit to Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Then went back to the hotel during the hottest part of the day and relaxed before dinner.
Saturday morning we woke up early for a birthday surprise for Josh. We took him to a big cat rescue and watched the big cats as they got fed for the day. Then back to the hotel for a nap before Josh had to dance in the evening.
Everything was low-key. We had nowhere to be (except the rescue – Mom made reservations). Everything was at our pace and very relaxing. Until we had to compete, but that’s to be expected.
By the way – Josh’s line took home the big trophy for our level.
This is how a vacation should be (minus the dancing) – relaxing. Recharge the batteries from a full year of school and work and dance. I felt ready to tackle work again.
Self-care is just as important during vacation as it is during the rest of your year. Take care of you. Take care of your family. Enjoy each other.