Most families are opting to stay in Ireland for their holidays this summer. It can be great to get away as a family – if it’s for a day trip over a little longer. Have you ever noticed that getting away from the daily routine and familiar environment – whether it is a day trip to Kilkee or a week away – can give everyone in the family the space to relax and enjoy each other’s company? Parents can break free of the usual pattern of racing to keep the household routine on track, refereeing disputes and negotiating with children. A break away gives us the space to focus on those affectionate, positive moments with our children and to really appreciate our children for the unique, interesting people that they are.
Think about how you can capture those happy, positive feelings and bring them in to your everyday life. We know that calm, relaxed children are more cooperative and better able to learn. In order to achieve this sense of calm, children need meaningful, special time with their parents.
Here are some suggestions to bring some goodwill into your home and make family life a little more relaxed and fun:
- Spend more time chatting: talk about mundane, everyday things. Share your thoughts and opinions on topics and ask for theirs. Even very young children will have their views on favourite foods, colours, animals etc.
- Praise your children for being cooperative, helpful and kind to each other and tell them how this makes you feel. Children respond well to praise and encouragement and they will feel happy if you are happy.
- Do simple activities at home that mean you are spending time together. Try activities like having a picnic in the garden (or the living room), reading stories, playing board games or doing jigsaws.
- Household chores still need to be completed so why not do some of these together? Children can help put laundry away, help with cooking, cleaning the car and tidying up. If you give each child their own individual task, they will begin to cooperate more and take pride in their task. Remember to praise a job well done.
Your child is lots of fun to be with and the most rewarding part of being a parent are those times when we get to spend relaxed time having fun with our children. Both you and your children will be happier and more relaxed in each other’s company the more opportunities you have to do this. Create this relaxed holiday feeling at home as often as you can because you and child deserve to be happy every day.
Top Tips for Happy Road Trips with Kids
It’s the time of year when many families pack up the kids, the beach gear, the kitchen sink and head off for a long drive. Whether it’s an hour to the local beach or somewhere a bit further, below are some tips to keep everyone smiling.
- Safety First. Make sure all car seats are fitted correctly, and the car is serviced. Pack a first aid kit and plenty of water
- Snacks! Have breakfast before you leave, and make sure you have plenty of snacks, such as fruit or cereal bars, easily to hand
- Take a Break. Try to plan a few scheduled stops in places that are convenient but also provide a nice break. Look for any local parks along your route.
- The All-Important Play List. Music is one of the best things about a road trip. Let everyone in the family pick their favourites. Try to get a balance of upbeat songs to get everyone singing along and quieter tunes to let your thoughts wander
- Car sick, anyone? If anyone in the family is prone to travel sickness, make sure you talk to your GP or pharmacist to see if there are any suitable medications you can have on hand. Make sure you have paper bags, just in case.
This article was contributed by a member of Parenting Limerick. Parenting Limerick is a network of parenting and family support organisations.