Top Tips for Holiday Routines

Routine – it’s probably the last thing you’d associate with being on holiday…
If you have kids though, you need routine just as much as they do.

Kids without a routine {that normally have one under normal home circumstances} turn into tiny little beasts – even the most well-behaved and disciplined ones…

Why routines are good for kids:
They help kids feel safe and secure in stressful or ‘new’ situations or an unfamiliar environment.
{Being away from home can feel strange and unpredictable – it’s not the safe and secure, familiar environment they know.}
Routines help to set body clocks – for eg. when it’s bath time, kids know that bed time will follow soon.
{Sticking to these regular routines even while away will also help give kids their cue as to when what is happening. It brings a sense of familiarity that is soothing and feels normal, especially if you’re traveling to a different time zone.}

Why routines are good for parents:
When things are hectic, routines help you feel more organised, which lowers stress.
Routines free you from constantly having to make decisions and resolve disputes
– eg. every night after dinner is bath time, no dispute.

Sure, you can ease up a bit on the rules during the holidays, but trust me, there has to be a few and also some boundaries. After even a few days without them, kids get confused and things get out of hand.

It’s like living in a society without rules – sure, it seems like fun, but ultimately it’s chaos.

Here are my Top Tips for Holiday Routines:
Stick to bath- and dinner-time.
Always start the day off with a Big Breakfast
– even adults turn into giant 2-year-olds when they’re hungry!
Make some time for fun kids’ activities – they need to expend all that lovely energy while having some familiar kiddie fun. {Go for a walk to the local park and let them play on the jungle gyms. Or, while at the mall, look for a kids’ zone with play area and let them go wild for an hour or so. It’s all about compromise…}
Don’t skip nap time…
{Sure, there won’t be time for quiet naps at home/the hotel everyday, but do try and make room for them while on holiday. Kids need their naps and it also provides a bit of a breather for mom & dad.}
Take some of their favourite toys along – it will help make things feel less unfamiliar.
{Do also get some exciting new toys they can explore and have fun with.}
If you’re going on a road trip or traveling by plane – take enough healthy snacks and drinks. {Things like nuts and raisins are good and not too messy. Another favourite is also mozzarella cheese sticks – the kids love it and it’s good for them too.}
Pack some books for quiet reading time.
Install a few educational games on your iPad, or even just songs that they can sing along to. {A movie also helps to distract kids and pass the time on a long journey, but don’t rely only on that, kids need to also learn how to stay entertained with normal toys and things around them.}
Don’t leave the pram/stroller at home! {Chances are, you’ll need it, even though you don’t use it that often at home… You never know if there will be trollies/carts available and the last thing you want while on holiday is having to carry around wriggly children.}
*If you DO happen to leave it at home, because you think you’re being clever and traveling light, you can always buy a cheap umbrella stroller for your trip…
{Yes, that’s what I did, because I thought I was being clever to leave my pram at home…}
Try and work in some physical activity – go for a run, a walk or even hit the gym – especially if you lead an active lifestyle.
{Lack of activity can quickly make you feel sluggish and lazy – not relaxed – and also prevent restful sleep.}

Sources:
http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/family_routines_how_and_why_they_work.html/context/312

Other good reads on the topic:
http://www.thebettermom.com/2014/12/07/7-habits-joyful-mothers

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