The New Parents Guide to Enjoying your Holiday
Every parent has said it; holidays are not the same once you’ve had kids.
There is no real relaxation, or opportunity to just stop.
It is basically going somewhere, with a few extra amusements in your arsenal, to spend a week or two keeping children happy and alive, elsewhere.
You reflect nostalgically back to the days of lying on a sun lounger in peace, with a cocktail in one hand and book in the other. Where all you had to worry about was the timing between getting out the pool, and lunch, so you wouldn’t be going to the restaurant with a wet bottom to sit on.
Ah those were the days! But now life has changed.
So forget the nostalgia and move on. It will only haunt you.
Now you need new methods.
You need to accept that holidays are a different beast now, but you can still have a great time.
Yes it’s true. You can.
Everyone has their own view of a perfect holiday. I know I do, and I can’t afford it anymore!
Where I enjoyed going before baby, may not work so well now.
So I prioritise the things that are important, and see if I can come up with something that meets me in the middle.
Villa or Resort?
Villas are great. A home away from home.
Your own kitchen, lounge and bedrooms. (Not having to share a room with your child makes for a better holiday).
A lovely terrace with in-built BBQ. A few reclining chairs. Don’t mind if I do.
You have the ability to cook food whenever you want, on your own time-frame.
No fighting for sun beds at the pool.
You can leave your towel down all day, and not get stern looks from other holiday makers.
It’s all yours to do what you want, when you want.
Apart from the kids that is. You still have to look after them.
Tip: Get some pool toys for hours of amusement. For you, and for them. Your inner child will be revived with a few pool games. And who doesn’t love sun bathing on a lilo, or even better, an inflatable chair with drinks holder!
My main piece of advice is pick a villa close to amenities and amusements. The role of chief entertainments officer gets very tiresome. Perhaps visit the park, or head out on a boat trip.
After a day of activity, its important to make sure there is a restaurant or two within walking distance. Having to drive everywhere on holiday can become a bit of a chore.
Not-so-relaxing. And not able to drink wine!
Remember, the best villas in great locations book up fast, so plan ahead.
You might be happy being in a villa in the middle of a field, with nothing for miles around but Goats. But I remind you of the drink-drive law, how nice wine is, and how it feels more like holiday if you don’t have to cook every meal, every day.
Try to select a resort that is child friendly, but not All about children.
My advice – avoid the massive, loud, child friendly resorts that mean there is NO PEACE FOR ANYONE.
They might look like the way forward, but think about how loud your kids are, multiply that by 500….
Think slipping over at the side of the pool (WAH); screaming for an ice cream; shouting for the ball.
Just pick a resort with a children’s pool and a playground. Children’s pool means children are welcome. Nobody likes a tutting group of dinkys (double income, no kids) who have no understanding of your fragility.
They have no knowledge how much you NEED this holiday.
You can casually point out the kids pool to them if their eye rolling becomes too much.
It’s also worth picking a resort that offers babysitting services or a crèche / kids club. Buy yourself a few hours of peace you would otherwise, never get.
Tip: Book childcare in advance, it gets booked up quick by slightly more organised, desperate-for-a-break parents.
If you can find a resort that provides rooms with a kitchenette, that is perfect.
Staying in a hotel room with no ability to warm up milk, or store it in a fridge – not helpful.
Taking family and friends is a winner
If you like your family, or have friends with kids of a similar age – brilliant!
This can save your sanity.
Arrange to go on holiday together. This way you can take it in turns to amuse the kids, and share babysitting duties (to get a meal out alone!).
The kids entertain each other; and frankly, a few more pairs of adult hands to open the wine and pass the olives, never goes amiss.
Not got anyone to holiday with?
Try this method.
Just carry on regardless and take the kids wherever you go.
This is what buggies were made for.
Perhaps you are staying in a hotel but want to try out other local restaurants in the town?
Maybe the babysitter is booked, or you are still getting over the shock of the price.
Or, you are staying at a villa, with no friends or family to share babysitting duties.
What you need is a bit of ‘Que sera sera’ mentality, a buggy, and a face that says:
‘Yes that’s right; it is past most kids’ bedtime. But here I am in a restaurant with my child, ordering food. AND?’
Mix it with your best charming smile.
Job done. You’re out with kids. Congratulations!
Tip: Bring snacks to feed the small one(s) while you wait for food. Order something that arrives with your starter.
Feed them at the table and then try your magic at getting them to sleep in the buggy before the main course arrives!
Then you have at least half your dinner in some form of civility recognisable from days of yore.
Obviously the buggy trick only works if your child is small enough. Bigger kids can just come out for an early dinner and go to bed a bit late. It’s a treat. Don’t let them forget it!
All that’s left is to take a deep breath in-and-out, a large gulp of wine, and smile smugly that you are still managing to enjoy your holiday, with kids.
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