Holidays and mini breaks with the kids should always be a memory making experience yet sometimes the overwhelming feeling of being somewhere new, busy-day fatigue and stress at trying to keep them quiet at night can overshadow any fun which you SHOULD be having! But with a little careful planning and a back up plan, staying in a hotel with children should be childs play! Here’s a few tips to get you started;
This is probably paramount in ensuring a stress-free break. Even if your intention is for quality family time packing the iPad or Nintendo DS just incase can be the make or break your stay. Maybe download a game they can play on your phone or even pack a surprise goody bag with a magazine, little toy and treat to make the occasion extra special. We’ve always done this and now my children look forward to their goody bags as much as the holiday it’s self!
Retrain your parenting style
Relax the rules a little, it’ll cut your stress levels which only feed negative emotions in your child. If you’re going as a couple, agree what stance you’ll take before you leave. It’s the kiddies break as well and it won’t be fun for anyone if you’re shouting orders constantly, not to mention a prime tension feeder between the adults.
A little prep team-talk between the family so everyone knows what’s expected of them will help too. If your children are older, a reminder of manners and how to behave with the staff never goes a miss, don’t always presume they’ll know what to do. If you’re nervous about their behaviour, they’ll be nervous (remember that negative emotion thing I mentioned?) most children clam up and don’t speak when unsure about how to react which can come across as rude.
Child Friendly Hotels
Try and find a hotel which welcomes children. It goes without saying that if you and your family feel welcome, you’ll enjoy your break so much more. Trying to hide the kids away in the restaurant, whizzing through reception and sitting in silence in your room is no fun for anyone. A good one will make you feel welcome the minute you book in and will set the mood for the rest of your break.
Explore and familiarise yourself with the local area
When the baby or toddler does have a moment, find a spot in the hotel which you can escape to for distraction maneuverers. Maybe the reception has an aquarium or there’s a nice garden. Also, never underestimate the power of fresh air when the baby’s crying and if the toddler chooses this break to display their epic tantrums, by remaining calm, spotting the signs and diverting with a distraction, you should be able to nip it in the bud. And remember, now is not the time to try any new rules or boundary setting, the change of location will only confuse them even more.
Research what’s in the area before you go, even use Google Earth to find a local open space you can escape to let off steam. As much as you’re yearning for a relaxing break, it’s not realistic to expect your kids to want to sit and read quietly for long periods of time! Plan to visit the local area which will give them an opportunity to run free. Hyde Park and Kensington gardens, for example, ensure a city break has the opportunity for a break from the crowds and traffic.
Take your own toddler equipment
Meal times can bring their own stresses whether home or away, so by taking familiar things such as child sized cutlery, bowls and cups should help with breakfast time in the hotel. Your little ones will be able to continue feeding themselves rather than trying to use adult ones. Chances are they’ll give up if it’s difficult or the novelty of new equipment prove too distracting and you’ll pay the price later with a hungry toddler. You’ll also avoid the embarrassment of any crockery being flung around. Always go armed with baby wipes too. Doing the walk of shame out of the restaurant covered in ketchup/weetabix/orange juice isn’t the best way to start the day, and most importantly, take some emergency distraction toys.
So now you’re armed and ready to face anything and hopefully you’ll be making happy memories for you all to look back on.
Have a great time!