14 answers

Vacation with Small Children

Hi Mommies,
I have 2 children, daughter is 10 months & son is 4 years. My husband recently voiced the frustration about how "getting away" for vacation isn't relaxing with little ones. I tried to explain how we have to change our view of relaxing and having fun now. I don't think I did a very good job though. I think the toughest thing for my husband is that our kids require supervision most/all of the time because they are still so young. I have to admit that there are times that I want some peace and quiet too but that tends to be rare. We are getting ready to go away for a week on family vacation and I was wondering if any of you have any advice on how to enjoy family vacation with little ones.

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it depends on where you are going? Maybe the hotel has a daycare that you can leave them there for a little while and go to the pool or get a message? Maybe a family member can take them for a weekend so you two can get a break.

We go camping which works well for us. My son 23 months loves to be outside. We invited one of his day care friends to come up for the day and it was great because then it was 4 of us working with the two of them.

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it depends on where you are going? Maybe the hotel has a daycare that you can leave them there for a little while and go to the pool or get a message? Maybe a family member can take them for a weekend so you two can get a break.

We go camping which works well for us. My son 23 months loves to be outside. We invited one of his day care friends to come up for the day and it was great because then it was 4 of us working with the two of them.

2 moms found this helpful

I had a very nice trip to Mackinaw Island last year with my two boys (6 and 2 at the time). Just don't plan too much! That way, if the kids get cranky, no one is upset if they need a nap. If they are having a good day, you can add in an extra activity. Our hotel room walked right onto the beaches of Lake Huron, so the one day my 2 yo had to have a nap, My 6 year old and I went out to swim while my 2 yo and husband slept. My husband loved it too! He has a physically exhausting job, so to get a nap without me nagging him to get this painted or that fixed, he was in Heaven! An to wake up to the sound of the waves on the shore... sets a perfect tone for the rest of the day. :)

You will have fun. Just think more about relaxation than "doing stuff."

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The only was to have a relaxing vacation with young children is to leave them home with grandma. Little ones require a lot of time and attention and there's no way around that. You have no way in advance of knowing it they are going to have a fun time or be overly tired and whine after a short period. It's just the nature of children.

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Honestly, it's not going to be a vacation for you and your husband. It's a LOT of work to take two little ones on vacation. They are out of their routine, they don't sleep well, you can't "go" all day long like you might want to. We just went camping for a couple of days with my kids (3 & 11 mos) and it just wasn't all that much fun. Part of it was my fault, I forgot the baby's exersaucer and the ground was littered with cigarette butts, so I couldn't really put her down. An 11 month old (or 10 month old) only wants to sit for so long.
My suggestion is to plan some down time in the afternoon. You need time to go back to the hotel room (or wherever you're staying) and just relax. Let the baby roll around on the floor and let the 4 year old have some rest time. Plan a day in the middle of the week where you just relax, either in the room or lounging by the pool. You might also have to split up at some point. One of you take the baby back for a nap and the other one stay with the older child. You'll just have to kind of get a feel for what you need when you get to your destination.
The biggest thing is to be flexible. Don't have any plans cause I guarantee you that they'll get broken.
A vacation like that can be fun, but it's a lot of work too. My husband I decided no more camping till the baby can walk!

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We took a vacation and took my cousins daughter along with us. She was 12 or 13 at the time. She helped with the kids plus it was fun for her as well. If this is not an option for you try to do things that they will enjoy. IF you are going to visit family or friends, would they be willing to keep the kids for a while so you and your hubby could go do something you enjoy? Safe travels!

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This may or may not be an option, but I agree-it's really hard to truly relax when you're constantly running after the kids. I view the vacations during the early years as great opportunities to expose your kids to something new and get some great photos! This year we are DELIGHTED because we're taking our nanny with us. Of course we still want to spend most of our time with our kids, but for one (or two) half days, I want to park my butt on the beach with a book and no one else! My husband and I also desperately need some time to ourselves, so this will allow us to go out in the evenings on our own. Many families do this -if they don't use a nanny regularly, they hire a college girl to come along and watch the kids sometime. They can usually be found fairly cheaply because if you're headed to the beach, then they still get tons of time off and a free beach vacation!

Another thing you see a lot are grandparents or grandmas on vacation with their kids and grandkids. This isn't only to give grandma a vacation! Before my mom died, we would go on vacation with them and they would watch the kids a night or two and for a morning or something.

If it's too late this year, think of some of those options for next year. We probably won't have a regular nanny next year, but I'm still going to go on Sittercity or care.com and get a college kid home for summer who wants to make several hundred bucks and get a tan!

You and your husband can also trade off if no one will go with you. Give him a half day one day and yourself a half day the next. If you're going to a resort, MANY have certified, licensed babysitters you can hire for an evening.

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We find it really helps to psych ourselves up for a week of "kid things." We (well, I) figure out a whole bunch of playgrounds in the area, places to go swimming, indoor stuff like local libraries, ice cream, etc so that we have vague plans for each day (including if the weather isn't great). I've found that vacation is a nightmare when we don't have lots of things to do because there isn't all the regular home stuff to keep themselves entertained. But If we then get ourselves to a place where making the kids happy is fun, then the vacation is fun. The way I try to spin it is that at home, we have lots of other things to juggle, on vacation we can just "be kids" with the kids.

It's not relaxing. But it is fun. Good luck.

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We try to stick to routines as much as possible, without stressing over it - our kids always do better with naps. We lower our expectations. We don't check out and see EVERYthing like we would have back in the day, but we make sure to see what's most important. We divide and conquer to get breaks. I'll take both kids while Daddy does something he likes (like fishing) or he'll watch the kiddos while I head out. We also split the kids. He'll take our oldest to do something, while I take the youngest. And our focus has changed. Vacation used to mean time off and time to relax. Now vacations are uninterrupted family time...we enjoy watching our kids have a ball. All this being said...we do take a weekend or two for ourselves throughout the year. We get a break and enjoy some grown up time. It's not a full blown vacation, but a weekend at a hotel can do wonders to recoup. Have a great time!

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