Read our advice to make sure your family trip away is enjoyable for you and the kids.
Family holidays are when special memories are made, for both you and the children. Time away from work and your normal home routines is hard-earned and precious, but instead of being a relaxing break, holidays can sometimes be more stressful than stress-free.
Choosing where to go
Start by thinking about how long a flight your children can handle; although an exotic long haul destination sounds exciting, an 8-10 hour flight with restless kids is not and it can lead you to be fed-up and stressed before you’ve even started your holiday.
A holiday in Europe comes with much shorter flight times, with more flexible airport options, and there are plenty of awesome places to discover that still have as much allure as Florida or Mexico.
From Turkey’s loggerhead turtles in Turquoise Coast through to the ancient city of Ephesus and Samothraki’s natural hot springs, there are plenty of sensational places to visit in Europe that are stimulating and fun for older kids, but that are also just a short flight from the UK and close to great beach resorts for younger families too.
Time without the children
Happy parents make for happy children, so whilst time together as a family is precious, child-free time is important too.
Some parents can feel wary of using kids clubs or babysitting services, reporting a sense of guilt at abandoning their child. However, these kinds of facilities aren’t anything of the sort and should really be taken advantage of. Adam, father to Gracie (8) and Fletcher (4), from North Devon, says “The first time I left Gracie and Fletcher in a kids club I felt terrible and couldn’t stop thinking about them all day – it made me miserable. However, when I caught up with them both in the evening they were so full of stories and had tried things like wake boarding and sailing that I could never have done for them myself.”
If you’re holidaying with another family, swapping childcare services for a day or night is a great alternative to kids clubs, and gives each couple time to unwind and reconnect without their parent hat on.
And as well as kid-free couple time, it can also be really beneficial for parents to have some time completely on their own. Whether it’s a massage, a walk into town or some down time by the pool to read a book, a ‘me’ time treat will help recharge your batteries – and give you a sense of actual ‘holiday’!
Learning without realising
Trying to keep your children occupied for an entire week can be difficult, especially if you have children of different ages with different needs. Take full advantage of the facilities your resort offers and enrol your children into an activity that gives them a chance to learn something new. Doing a wind-surfing lesson, bike ride or learning to snorkel is the perfect way to help your kids gain new skills and make new friends.
Go for a resort that includes children’s clubs in the price and decide with your kids before you go what activities they want to try the most on holiday.
One of the best things about family holidays is looking back and remembering the fun you all had together.
While your child might not remember exactly which museums and landmarks you all visited in years to come, simple things like walking along the beach, building sand castles, holding hands and having fun together make lasting childhood memories.
Take lots of holiday snaps and videos – but don’t forget about them when you get home. Rather than just sitting on your phone or camera, make the time to create a photo book of your holiday; putting physical pictures of your holiday all together in one place is a great way to keep memories fresh over many years and is much more likely to be something you’ll pull out each year rather than scrolling through a camera roll on a phone.
If you have lots of fun video footage, piece it together with a favourite song over the top. This is easily achievable on your computer’s basic video editing program and provides another fun memento of your trip that you can enjoy over and over again.
Advice from Neilson