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What do you like to do on family holidays? Go to the beach or spend a week in the country? Maybe you like camping or visiting relatives. Whatever you enjoy, family vacations are a chance for everyone to spend quality time together and have fun. Studies have shown that when families take holidays together, they are more involved in engaging with each other and less likely to argue.
However, family vacations do not guarantee that there will be no issues with communications – existing problems with communication will not magically disappear. Arguments as to where to go, where to eat, what attractions to see, where to stay are bound to arise before and during the trip, especially as your children age and enter their teenage years.
In order to maintain peace and harmony during family vacations, keep these things in mind:
Avoid needless confrontation.
Children and teenagers need boundaries so it is important for parents to maintain most of the decision-making power. Instead of creating conflict over decisions that are made, simply explain why you make the decisions you do and leave it at that.
Include your children in the travel plans.
As mentioned above, it is important for parents to maintain control over travel plans, but providing your children with choices will give them the opportunity to contribute to the vacation. Allow them to make decisions such as going to a beach or going to an amusement park. Give them the option to choose a restaurant one evening. Having your child give input on what to do will help them to feel important.
Deal with problems in private.
If your children are uncooperative or behave improperly, try to deal with the problem in private. Avoid embarrassment, and your child’s sensitivity to it, by having a calm and quiet conversation about how their behaviour is inappropriate. If possible, find a private area to talk to your child and potentially have them calm down for a few moments. Remind them that your vacation is a privilege and that special outings and treats are dependent upon their behaviours.
Three words: Snacks, drinks and entertainment.
We all know that the attention span of most children is minimal and that most cannot tolerate long car rides. An easy go-to is to provide your children with tablets and hand-held videos games to occupy their time. If you are reluctant to distract them with technology, make a playlist for the car of songs your children enjoy or plan some (corny) travel games such as these. You can even have your child help navigate by giving them a map to follow. And, of course, stock up on some healthy snacks and drinks for the trip.
Being on the road with your family can be a fun and peaceful endeavor as long as you are proactive and plan for potential conflicts along the way. Focus on being positive and enjoy this special time with your family.