How do you answer your friends when they ask ‘going anywhere nice this year?’
Now you have children of your own it’s amazing how differently you see holidays.
No longer do you choose holidays by the colour of the sea or the scorching temperatures that will bake our lithe bodies to a burnished gold tone that will be the envy of all our friends back home.
Now when you’re choosing your family holidays the first thoughts that enter your head are the kids. Will it be too hot for them abroad, how will the cope with the food and can you depend on them not to throw a tantrum by the time they reach the airport.
Holidays are for all the family and you don’t want to come back home needing another holiday to recover.
We all dream of hopping on to an aeroplane and heading off to somewhere nice and sunny as we wave a happy farewell to our rain soaked shores for a whole two weeks of sunshine
Tantrum number one usually comes when they have to sit on a seat and put on their seat belt for take off. Once the seat belt is off they don’t want to be forced to remain sitting on an uncomfortable seat for a couple of hours – nope – they want to run up and down the aisle, talking to everyone who will listen to them and generally driving the air hostesses mad, not that they’d say so, they are far too polite for that!
One of the best times when flying is when your child needs to visit the loo – on board toilets, for want of a better word, are not designed for two and getting an awkward child (not mine obviously!) to use the toilet as you both squeeze your way in, is a nightmare on its own, never mind the moaning minnies waiting in a queue outside the door.
At last you have landed and the family heads off to the carousel to collect your luggage.
These carousels are fantastic for adults, for kids its Wow – I’m going to have a go on that, as they loosen the vice like grip you had on their hands and jump onto the moving baggage conveyor with you in hot pursuit.
You’re only kidding yourself when you think nobody’s paying any attention to you – they are, every eye has turned in your direction as you attempt to catch up with your kids.
Family Holidays in a Hotel
Eventually order is restored, baggage claimed and you’ve arrived at your hotel – you’d give anything for a cup of tea but will struggle along with a decent gin and tonic.
Don’t spend a great deal of time carefully putting clothes etc in the cupboard available, get the kids into their shorts and t-shirts, cover them liberally in the suntan lotion that you packed (you did remember to pack it didn’t you?) and take them out to run off all that pent up energy they have.
All the family are starving and you head off to the dining room for a meal – remember that everything is different from your home cooking and many hotels in Spain, Italy etc will use olive oil in most of their cooking.
Take care what the children eat, that includes things like salad which will have been washed in local water – if you do you may well need those Imodium tablets you packed sooner than you think.
When you book your holiday it could be a good idea to get in touch with the hotel or their operator and make sure that this is a family-friendly hotel that is set up for kids.
Remember that the walls in hotels are invariably paper thin and every noise carries and nothing carries quicker than a crying child.
Children tend to waken at the slightest noise so if your hotel room is situated above the bar or worse still the hotel disco any chance you have of them blissfully sleeping all night is gone
What do you do once the little ones have exhausted themselves and are peacefully asleep? It’s not safe to leave them alone in the room so your only option is a glass of wine on the balcony – if you have one.
It’s not quite the hotel holiday you used to have pre kids but they’re worth it.
It is often easier to book a self catering holiday and as you can cook food that your family will eat, when they want it and put them down for an afternoon sleep if necessary many parents find these are the best family holidays.
Our children tend to have defined bedtimes and this way you and your partner can send the kids off to bed and get some quality ‘me’ time with a glass of wine.
Self Catering is great, but remember you didn’t go on holiday to clean the house, so make sure your self catering property comes with cleaning included in the price.
Don’t worry about giving the kids something different and appetising everyday. If pasta or pizza is their favourites then let them have it – does it matter if that’s all they’ll eat?
Family Holiday Parks and Villages
If neither of the above options suits your family, take a look at some of the fantastic family holiday parks and villages available both in the UK and abroad.
These are definitely geared up for kids and could be the answer to your prayers with crèches and kids clubs that keep the kids happy and organised all day long giving you and your partner some well earned time to chill out together
Do check out all the information on the kids clubs for example what qualifications the organisers have, the times the club operates and if there are any potty training or age restrictions.
Family Holidays with Friends
You’ve been chatting to your friends about booking your family holiday and they suggest that they come too along with their families.
You may have been friends for years and the kids may well play happily together at home but off on holiday is another matter.
Yours would not be the first friendship ruined by spending two weeks together. This could be the first time you notice all the annoying little habits their children have and are teaching to yours.
Financially they may be in a better place than you and tend to buy their kids lots of things and naturally yours want them too, making it awkward for you both.
But when it works – it works well! Going on holiday with like minded friends who know your kids almost as well as they know their own can be a great experience and you may be able to take advantage of some fantastic family holiday deals.
Provided both sets of parents are open minded and prepared to compromise then you’ll all have a wonderful holiday. Take turns to make meals for everyone, make sure you know all their likes and dislikes before heading off that way you can avoid tantrums. The kids will love playing with their best friends and will have loads to tell everyone when they get back home.
You’ve had a wonderful family holiday; it was everything it could possibly be. You couldn’t fault the hotel/apartment/holiday village and the kids had a ball.
It’s time for home and all that’s left is to get through is the flight and the baggage carousel – I refer you to the top of the page!!