Child psychologist at the International Wellbeing Center in Jakarta
Traveling with kids can be fun, but tricky. (Shutterstock/File)
Many of us are going on family trips this holiday season.
It is exciting to escape from our daily lives, but no one can guarantee that the trip is going to be pleasant – especially for families with children.
If you are planning a happy family escape, it is necessary to get yourself ready.
Kids may be way too excited, they may get into tantrums if the trip is not going as they expected, and they may get on your nerves by being lazy and not motivated to travel around.
How should we prepare for this? Here are three simple tips for enjoying your family getaway.
Involve the kids in planning
Kids tend to be more responsible and follow instructions better when they have planned their schedule on their own.
If your children are young, parents can research first where to go, what to do and what to eat, then ask them to help to schedule a trip by choosing from the options.
This will make the children feel they played a big role in the vacation and will thus be more responsible. It will reduce the number of conflicts caused by children complaining about trip schedules.
Planning a trip with children also helps in preparing them for new places and meeting new people. Children will feel safe because they know what is going to happen throughout the trip. A stable emotional condition is something we need to fully enjoy our vacations.
Aside from planning a trip together with the children, don’t forget to remind them about the schedule during the trip. This can be done in the morning or before going to bed. Reminders should be given once or twice a day as too many reminders may demotivate the children.
Set boundaries and rules ahead
When kids go into tantrums or show improper behavior during the trip, parents usually come up with spontaneous rules, warnings and punishment.
It will stop their behavior instantly, but it will also create a negative atmosphere between the children and parents. The kids, being kids, will blame their parents for ruining the mood.
Discussing rules or boundaries before the trip will prevent this type of drama. The rules should not be complicated or too many. Once the rules are set, ask the children to decide on consequences should they break them.
The penalties should be given no matter what happens, no matter where you are, once they are set and agreed by parent and children.
These rules are not only for children, but also for the parents to remain fair.
Be ready yourself and help your kids stay in good condition before leaving
Preparing a vacation is often stressful. In this hectic period, our children’s condition is easily missed.
To keep the children in a good mood and in good health, parents should ensure they are free from a busy schedule and get enough rest before the trip.
Parents may bump into a draining moment and experience the worsening behaviors of children during the vacation. Therefore, giving yourself a proper break is also a must.
Get ready for the worst moments with the children, and save up your energy to go through these.
Getting ready for the worst moment does not mean we need to worry about something that has not happened; it means you must be ready to face anything, including worst-case situations.
Get ready for fun and enjoyable moments, as a vacation should be a relaxing moment for you too. (dev/kes)
Sera Jang is a child psychologist at the International Wellbeing Center in Jakarta. She has 11 years’ experiences practicing play therapy, and youth and parent counseling. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in child psychology from Hanyang University, South Korea. She has participated in a range workshops and research in the field of psychology. She occasionally writes columns for parenting magazines and daily newspapers.
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