Family Holiday A to Z: Quiet Time

Welcome to my A to Z series on surviving, enjoying and making the most of family holidays. As you read this I am on my own 24 day odyssey to the USA with my husband and three little bears – so I am truly living what I am preaching right now! Each post in this series is designed to cover a specific aspect of family travel and provide 5 tips for making your next family holiday more special, fun and memorable. I would love to hear your stories and suggestions too, so feel free to hit me with them in the comments. I look forward to conversing with you on my return!

Family Holiday A to Z

Holidays can be amazingly exciting. Lots of things to see, so much to do and, of course, new experiences to savour. But holidays do not need to be all go-go-go. For many families, particularly those with young children, quiet time is a must to avoid overwhelm, over-tiredness and full-on meltdowns.

At home it’s easy enough to put the kids down for an afternoon nap or provide them with some quiet activities to give them the opportunity to get the rest and down-time they so desperately need. However, away from home, confined to a smaller space and lacking some of the go-to things you’d normally rely on to help with rest-time, it can feel nearly impossible to achieve the same aim.

It’s important when planning your next family holiday to build in some rest time each day to ensure family equilibrium and happiness. Try not to feel guilty for taking some time out – you will need it and your family will definitely thank you for it.

5 tips to ensure there can still be quiet time for your family on your next holiday

1. Build rest time into each day

It is so important to build rest time into your itinerary. It can be hard to justify slowing down when you have limited time in a particular place but taking it slowly and not pushing too hard will definitely make the holiday a greater success. Despite having a punishing schedule on our travels this time around, we have still carved out opportunities where we’ll be able to just splash about by the pool or have lazy mornings to recover when it all gets too much. And it will – so it’s better to be prepared for the overwhelm rather than have it consume the entire holiday.

2. Develop a holiday routine

It will be nearly impossible to keep up your normal routine when away from home but seriously consider developing a holiday friendly daily routine for you and your kids. A routine will give both you and your kids some certainty and can be built around your itinerary for each day. Use a routine to set expected times for waking up, having rest time and going to bed. It can be easy to just let routines fly out the window and go with the flow while on holiday, but anyone who has children will know that making that extra effort will reduce the chance of upset, over-tiredness and general crankiness. Remember, you want to relax and enjoy your holiday, not spend the majority of your time dealing with a tired and grumpy family!

3. Take some quiet games and activities with you

When packing and deciding what to take along, ensure you include some quiet games and activities for the kids. These could include books, a pack of cards, a board game or a colouring-in pack. Being able to offer your kids a quiet activity to help settle them before bed or to lure them back to your accommodation when it all gets too much during the day can really make a difference. Recognise that quiet time will be required and make sure you take a couple of things along to encourage them to rest.

4. Schedule a “nothing” day

On a busy sight-seeing type holiday, why not set aside one day where nothing is planned? A recovery day in the middle of a big holiday could be just the thing you all need to rest, recoup and recover. While holidays are supposed to be fun and relaxing they can be full-on and stressful. So a day where there are no plans or expectations could turn your holiday on it’s head and remind you why you embarked on it in the first place.

5. Set the lead – have some quiet time too

It’s important to take the lead and set the example for your family – so when you are encouraging them to have a rest, have some quiet time yourself. Read that book you have always been intending to read. Sit back and enjoy the serenity with cuppa in hand. Have a nap. Don’t expect your kids to rest if you continue bustling about – show them that quiet time and rest is important by modelling it for them. After the stress of planning and packing, you may need the rest time more than they do…

Bonus tip – 6. Have a family movie afternoon

Why not suggest a family movie afternoon to sneakily give everyone the rest they need? Even if your accommodation does not boast TV or DVD (although very likely they will) you can play movies on a laptop, iPad or other mobile device. Pre-load some family movies before you leave and bring them out when required. In the past this has saved us a lot of heartache and has allowed us to defuse some tense family moments when we were all tired, cranky and over it. Plus it still gives you some quality family time together – it’s a win-win!

Do you have suggestions to incorporating quiet time into your next family holiday?

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11 Responses

  1. We always schedule in quiet time on our holidays.
    The routine obviously start when our son was a toddler and part of his regular routine was an afternoon nap. Now he is school age he still wants some down time after a big day at the pool or on a day trip. We all take part in quiet time. My husband and son watch a movie and I have a cuppa and read a book or nip out for a massage.
    Sally@Toddlers on Tour recently posted..My Garuda Indonesia Review (with kids)

    • Kirsty says:

      I was really keen to try out the wellness centre on the cruise for a massage but I never quite got there – I think I spent too much time just lazing by the pool which possibly achieved the same aim!!!!

  2. Really fabulous tips here. Quiet time is so important. One of the best holidays we’ve been on was in February this year – it was a ‘stop and prop’ holiday on the south coast of NSW. It meant we could have plenty of rest time with the kids but still get out and see things. One thing we’ve realised with small children is you can’t travel through places as quickly. They just don’t cope with moving to a new place every couple of days. #TeamIBOT
    Bec @ Seeing the Lighter Side recently posted..The real reason SAHMs don’t contribute to economic growth – in the media

    • Kirsty says:

      That’s so right Bec – travelling with kids is a completely different way of travelling. I loved that we were able to set ourselves up in each place so our kids felt they had their own space – it definitely made a difference when it came time to have those quiet moments to recharge.

  3. I think having the flexibility to just have a down day doing nothing but lazing about is important, or at least a half day of this. Hope you are having a fabulous time!!!

    • Kirsty says:

      Thanks Malinda. Sadly we are back now (I prescheduled this before I left) but we did have the most amazing time. Being able to change plans to accommodate the needs of everyone while we were away really did make the difference and allowed us all to have a holiday that we are not going to forget in a hurry!

  4. I’m a big fan of always having some kind of routine in all situations. I find I cope better with it, so the kids definitely do.
    Can’t wait to hear more about your trip Kirsty. It looked amazing 🙂
    EssentiallyJess recently posted..The Squirrels, The Bandicoots, and the Wise Old Badger #IBOT

    • Kirsty says:

      Our kids thrive on routine (as do Nathan and I!) so we did try to put a holiday routine in place to make it easier on everyone. There was one day in the middle where we had to rearrange things so we could all have a rest and recharge – thankfully we did have the flexibility to do that and we were all the better for it.

      Be careful what you wish for Jess – you’ll be sick of my holiday talk by the time I’m finished!!!

  5. Grace says:

    Great tips, Kirsty! I love the schedule nothing days. They are always a perfect opportunity for bonding x
    Grace recently posted..Why I’m still going to Bali

  1. May 15, 2015

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