How to Keep Calm on a Family Vacation
Eric Schneider | My Mind
When parents and their kids embark on a vacation, expenses and expectations can lead to heightened friction and anxiety in the form of irritability, tense conflicts and even tears. Here are some simple tips to avoid trip tensions and create more joyous and loving family time on your getaway.
1. Expect Stress
Vacation tension that goes beyond petty sibling button-pushing and passing rumbles can wear you out when you’re supposed to be relaxing. One poll shows roughly 50% of Americans were more tired after their getaway than before leaving, and another poll showed that two-thirds of couples have daily fights on vacation. By being more conscious of the emotional baggage that you all carry from the outset, you may be better equipped to see stress coming and lighten the load in advance.
2. Keep It Simple
Planning is an essential component of a great getaway, but over-planning, can lead to tension, especially if everyone’s not on board with a hectic sightseeing pace. When scheduling your vacation, make sure to leave room for more relaxation by setting up occasional morning or afternoon downtime to balance things out so there’s not pressure to have fun (which can feel like work).
3. Mix Up the Activities
Make sure that your vacation isn’t smothered by togetherness. No matter how well you all get along, giving each family member personal space will allow any contentious issues of the moment to cool down. And, of course, parents should spend some time together sans kids, whether that means hiring a sitter or just sipping wine on the balcony after the children have collapsed from exhaustion.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Discuss
On vacation, the issues that pop up are often the same concerns that spring up in daily life, only heightened by the unfamiliarity of a different location. If you have a child who loves to be contrary, he or she may amp it up; the same goes for your spouse, whether laid-back to a fault or a complete control freak. Try to diffuse these issues by identifying them, discussing them productively, collaborating on a solution and encouraging everyone to steer clear of these default behaviors.
5. Let Go and Laugh
While on vacation, know when to let go. Rather than lecture your kid for an annoying but harmless action, sometimes allow it to pass. You can even go one more step and laugh at something that might normally make you bristle. The effect may even be contagious, keeping things refreshingly lighthearted.
Hey, who knows? Maybe some of these changes will even carry over when your vacation is over…for a more relaxing time at home.