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!
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?