Vacationing with kids

Eden, Judah, and Levi sitting on large stones near the bay shore.
Eden, Judah, and Levi enjoying the bay from our 2014 vacation.

Remember when vacation used to mean relaxing and doing whatever you want? I clearly remember our first vacation with our kids. We had a 2-and-a-half-year-old, an 18-month-old and a 6-week-old. Let’s just say it was memorable, but not for how relaxing it was!

I read somewhere that changing your expectations for vacation is important once kids enter the picture; that instead of thinking of it as vacation, think of it as a trip. Definitely true!

We are currently counting down until we leave for vacation in a few weeks. By counting down, I mean my kids ask me 50 times a day how long until we leave. Yesterday we made a paper chain to countdown the days to help tone down the questioning!

Since our vacation is quickly approaching, I have tried to remember all the little things that help make it go just a bit smoother.

Keep sleep a priority

Keeping sleep a priority is the first key for survival in our family. We go to the beach for a week every summer, and our kids still have consistent naps or quiet times in the afternoons. Everyone seems to need this down time. It also gives me time to read on the balcony.

Also, along the lines of sleep, we have started taking blackout blinds with us. It is much easier to fall asleep or stay asleep in a dark room. We use these quick-fix blackout blinds in our vacation house and in our kids bedrooms at home.

Plan toys ahead

The other biggest thing I do is to decide ahead of time what toys I will be taking along for them to play with there. Magna-Tiles®, LEGO® DUPLO® blocks, plastic animals, whatever it is, I pack it up a few weeks to a month before vacation. This means when they see it at the vacation house it is new and exciting again. Toys are always more engaging when they haven’t been seen for a while.

Beach Tips

I am not much of a lay-on-the-beach person, but little inflatable pools are nice for babies who are big enough to play but not big enough to just be free on the beach. An inch of water and a few toys would keep my kids entertained for a while. I also love storing my sand toys in a mesh laundry bag so that I am not taking home buckets of sand in my beach bag!

No matter what your vacation is like, spending a little time before you leave figuring out a few tricks will definitely help things run a little smoother.

In the end, no matter what happens, I try to remind myself that we are making memories we will remember forever. And a few years from now what seemed horrible at the time may be something we laugh about later.

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