One of the perks of family travel is spending time together. At the same time, traveling with the kids can make it hard for the grownups to get the downtime that they need. Here are five ideas for what to do with the kids while you take some time to relax.
1. Take Turns with the Kids
If you’re traveling with another family, take turns with kid duty. Try alternating days when one family takes the kids one afternoon, and the other for the next afternoon. This way, each of the grown ups gets a chance to relax and have some time to themselves. What’s more, the kids get a break from their parents for a few hours.
Alternately, if you’re traveling as a couple with your own kids, switch off so that one person can relax and have some me-time while the other takes the kids. Alternate so you each get equal “time off.”
2. Enlist the Grandparents
If the kids’ grandparents are close by – or if you’re traveling with them – ask them to watch the kids for a few hours so that you can get some grownup time. Not only will it give you a break, but the grandparents will enjoy the time to hang out with their grandkids – without their parents noticing. After all, how can they appropriately spoil their grandchildren when their parents are around?
3. Put on a Movie
Depending on the kids’ ages, a movie can be a good way to occupy an hour or two of their time, as well as giving the parents a chance to escape and get some time to themselves. For young kids, select an age-appropriate movie and stay nearby in case they need something. For older kids, give them a little leeway – but still stay in close range to monitor their activities.
4. Sign up for a Kids’ Class
Some shops, local businesses and city recreation departments offer classes for kids; sign them up for an hour-long class and take time for yourself while they’re learning a new craft, playing a sport or learning a game.
5. Enlist Babysitting Services
Hire a babysitter and take some time off away from the kids – and the house. Ask for local references for babysitting or nanny services, and have them come to the house to watch the kids for an afternoon while you get a break to spend time doing what you want to do.
Vacation with the kids can be a great way to bond. It can also mean being on kid duty for the duration of the trip. Make a little time for yourself by signing the kids up for a class or getting some assistance from family and friends and spend the time relaxing. Make sure your family vacation is really a vacation!
Teresa J. Shaw is a Michigan-based writer specializing in travel and family content. Read more of her work at www.teresajshaw.com and follow her on Twitter @TeresaShaw.