It is a universal myth that you never actually take a holiday with kids, ‘it’s just a change of place’. Travelling broadens not only your perspective but lets a kid experience many things that s/he may not have seen before. Here are some tips that will help you enjoy more with your precious little one:
Always pre-book your stay and commute. Inform your hotel/host about the food you may want for your kid on arrival. Most places, if informed well in advance, also let you cook in their kitchen.
Make most of the limited luggage space. Keep to the bare minimum for adults and two extra sets than required for the kid. Try to wash, dry and reuse what you can while travelling. Do keep medicines (especially for stomach upset, rash and fever) for kids handy. Carrying your kid’s favourite toy and book also helps. Do not forget to carry a stroller or a baby carrier.
Kids thrive on snacks while travelling. If you are planning a holiday with a kid less than a year old, carry a banana or cut apples whenever you step out with them. Do not be surprised if they do not let you finish your meals during your stay; you can try having shorter meals, at shorter intervals too. Works in your favour actually by keeping your calorie intake in check. Also, do not experiment too much with new food for your kid. Do not depend too much on packaged foods or so-called organic foods for your kids while travelling.
Take it slow
Kids are great observers, and curious by nature. Once you start looking at things from their perspective you are bound to enjoy more. Stop and stand with them when they just want to look at an insect crawling or a bird chirping.
Bond as a family
Holidays are a great occasion to make great memories – not the one that you post on social media but remember and smile about. Keep the usage of gadgets to a minimum as parents. If you are busy clicking, capturing and sharing every moment of your holiday, how will you share the moments with your kid? Act silly with them, jump, run and do things that you might not be able to do usually.
Tantrums and the drama
With kids, things can turn either way. The ground rule is to take everything in your stride. Ignore the kid for a while if they are throwing an unnecessary tantrum. Inform your co-passengers (if any) beforehand if you are travelling with a kid who can’t stay still. Use the distraction technique whenever you see a tantrum coming.
Don’t over- or under-schedule
Do not pack your itinerary with tonnes of activities. Be mindful of what you plan but remember to tire your kid out. Overtired kids can wreak havoc while tired kids will sleep (and let you sleep) peacefully. Even if the sleeping hours go haywire due to jet lag, try to make up for the kid by letting them take short naps whenever the s/he is sleepy.
Be a positive parent
Try not to stop your kid from doing what they want on a holiday. Let them roll in the mud, let them a pet that cat, let them have two ice-creams. Look at giving more varied experience to your kid than becoming a parent that continuously says ‘no’ (which should be your perspective even otherwise). Become a kid with your kid, and look at having a relaxing and pleasant holiday for everyone while taking care of not spoiling them rotten.
Go out and take a well-deserved holiday with your kid. Cheers!
Ananya is a Delhi-based working mother. The strategies listed here have been tested by her personally on her now five-year-old son.