“Family Vacation” is the cruelest oxymoron of them all. We parents torture ourselves in the name of fun and in the process end up exhausted, annoyed, and broke. As long as the kids are happy, right? Riiiiiiight…
Spending an extended amount of time and sharing a teeny tiny hotel room with my family recently has given me time to grow and reflect upon how to better handle such an adventure, should it ever (or never) happen again. Here are several lessons I’ve learned:
- Determine—in advance—how to handle elevator buttons. Seriously. Decide which kid will push the buttons when you go up, and which will press them when you go down. It’s so much easier to have that agreement before you get to the hotel.
- SNACKS. Get their favorites. And lots of them. Bring bags of groceries to the hotel. It’s okay if your children eat chips and peanut-butter sandwiches all week long. It’s easier than trying to find a restaurant that the whole family agrees upon at least two times per day.
- Take your kids to the best bookstore in town. Tell them they can get whatever they want. The hundred dollars you spend in books will be the best investment everinthehistoryofallmoney.
- Bring extra chargers. And portable charging devices. And make sure your hotel has free Wi-Fi.
- Embrace the television as your friend. Especially if you don’t have cable at home. Although your children may be very confused at the concept of “live TV.”
- Don’t pack five days worth of clothes in anticipation of getting to do laundry at the hotel. It won’t happen, and your family will all wear their underwear inside out for half the vacation. Just pack the extra clothes.
- Plan activities to do in the hotel room while your tween sleeps until noon each day. Order room service, take showers, plan your day, get a little work done.
- Bring a maxi dress for the last day of vacation. It helps with the five extra pounds you put on. (Guys, you can bring sweatpants or something, although a maxi dress would probably be more comfortable.)
- By the end of the trip, at least one suitcase will be designated the “dirty laundry” suitcase. Zip it up tight and leave it in the nearest incinerator before traveling home, thereby saving the extra cost of checked baggage on most airlines and the headache of the post-vacation laundry mountain.
Spending so much “quality” time with my tween (and my almost tween) reminded me that hormonally-charged tweenagers can be difficult to deal with sometimes. But it also reminded me that they aren’t all that different than hormonally-charged toddlers. In fact many of the parenting techniques I used on my toddlers work on my tweens as well. I actually wrote a piece on this exact topic. If you already read it, you are awesome, and I love you. Maybe come on vacation with me next time instead of my kids?
Photo Credit: yarruta / 123RF Stock Photo