This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and RESCUE blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.
Whenever it comes time to start getting ready for a vacation, I start to stress. You would think it should be the total opposite, but that’s never the case. There’s just so much to remember and to get ready for, especially when you’re vacationing with kids. Last month, we went to Walt Disney World and before our trip I got together with a friend who was going to be there the same time as us. We discussed how as mothers, we were totally stressing about our upcoming trip to the Happiest Place on Earth! We wanted to make sure we didn’t forget anything, we were worried that someone in our family would get sick while there, if a child might throw a tantrum or we might snap at our husbands.
I made a vow to myself that when we got to Walt Disney World, I wasn’t going to stress. I was going to go with the flow and take it as it comes. I wasn’t going to worry about nap times or if the kids were eating junk food the whole week. I wasn’t going to worry if we missed a certain ride or forgot an item at home. I was going to “Let it Go” and have a fun vacation with my family.
After the trip was over, my husband and I both agreed that it was our best trip yet. I think a lot of it had to do with me making sure that none of us were stressed out. Sure, we missed some naps. All of the kids ate suckers at one point when they were in a grumpy mood. Olivia took about a dozen stuffed animals off an end cap in a store and spread them around her. But it was okay. We had a magical, stress-free time. And in the end, all I had to do was look at my kids faces and the stress melted away.
But while I had a stress-free time, I definitely had to work at it. Here are some of my tips for having a stress-free vacation with kids.
Lower Your Expectations
This was a big one. It’s easy to go into a vacation dreaming of the perfect moments you’re going to have with your family. You know – the kids won’t get upset, you’re going to get fantastic frame-worthy photos and everyone is going to be smiles all the time. I browsed Pinterest for months planning our Disney vacation and had all of these great ideas for activities and photos. But as soon as I lowered my expectations of the trip, I felt a weight come off my shoulders. I DIDN’T have to get that perfect picture. We DIDN’T have to do that activity. Lower your expectations, especially with kids and you’ll have a great time.
It’s easy to want to jam pack a trip, especially with somewhere like Walt Disney World or a big city. Don’t do it! You’re just going to stress yourself out trying to get the whole family from one place to the next. Talk with your family about some of the must-do activities and make sure you get those done. On our trip, we had three rides we wanted to ride each day and after that, we just went with the flow.
A lot of people will tell you to keep the same schedule as when you’re at home. That can work for some people, but I say just be flexible. The kids may be too excited to take a nap and they may be able to stay up early. Be flexible and play it by ear. On our last trip, we decided to chance it and get to the Magic Kingdom at 6pm at night. Our twins usually eat dinner then and are in bed by 7:30 pm. We ended up staying at the park until 10:30 pm and we all agreed it was the best night of our trip!
Talk With Your Partner
Vacations with kids can be stressful, as I’ve shared in this whole post. When our twins were newborns and not sleeping, my husband and I had a rule that anything we said between 10pm and 8am didn’t matter. We couldn’t bring it over to the next day because we tended to sometimes snap at each other in the middle of the night when sleep-deprived. Talk with your partner and agree to not snap at each other on vacation. If someone has to walk away for some alone time, it’s OKAY! After all, it’s the adults vacation too!
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How do you ditch the stress while on vacation with the kids?