When we first had The Boy, we couldn’t wait to take him on a holiday, explore the world, do fun stuff. When he was 6 months old or so, we thought it would be a clever idea to go to France on holiday. Well, the clever bit – we pack the car with stuff and off we go. Yes, that bit was indeed clever. And we did have a lovely holiday overall. However, was it REALLY a holiday? Was still waking up at 5:30am a holiday? Was worrying about naps and cranky baby, REALLY a holiday? Was woolfing down our meals (as we do at home), still a holiday?
Well I think kids redefine what a holiday is. In the old days, it was about having a break from work. Going away. Relaxing and DOING nothing.
Now a holiday, is about spending time together as a family, as well as having a change of scenery – the change of scenery also stopping you from being distracted from emails on the laptop, chores and jobs that need doing around the house. A break away is all about quality time with the family.
And it is hard work. But it is worth it.
We have decided that a good family holiday, is no longer about going abroad, about new adventures and about exciting things, it is about staying here. And now that the kids are over 2yrs of age, and flying anywhere is becoming increasingly expensive, we are definitely looking at the UK. UK breaks have a lot to offer – with a variety of holidays available.
So. Planning your first holiday with kids? Here is my advice:
1) Manage your OWN expectations. Holidays with kids are different. Not “worse”, just different. They are just as tiring as a weekend at home (kids still get up early and kids still complain about their food or about going to bed), but it is a time to cherish and about being together without distractions.
2) Don’t pack everything and the kitchen sink. The first holiday we went on, we packed everything – terrified about “how” we were going to keep The Boy entertained. In the end it was easy. We just hung out. You will surprised how easy it is to just sit on a picnic blanket, with no toys or gadgets, you will always find something to do. I DO pack a 2-3 books for bed time, a small set of pens and note pads for doodling, drawing and drawing games. With older kids, also add a pack of cards. You won’t need much more.
3)Keep it simple. Stay in one place – don’t move around, staying in lots of places to make it interesting. Having a base to come back to makes everything more relaxed and enjoyable.
4) Stick to routines – amend them if you wish (e.g. stay up a little later), but even a rough routine on holiday still benefits your children and gives a little focus to the day.
5) Enjoy. Make the most of your time with the kids. Soon enough they will be off with their friends and won’t want to hang out with you!
A family holiday at Butlins offers all sorts of activities and entertainment on offer for when you feel like it, as well as British beaches and the sea, whats not to like?