The invaluable benefits of travelling with kids.
For many being a single parent means having to work twice as hard all week every week – splitting time between work, other commitments and family life. Striking the right balance and pleasing everyone can be incredibly difficult and often leaves solo parents exhausted and frustrated. Work is what keeps the roof over your heads, but it’s also the reason you have little time for anything else, let alone quality time with the kids. This is why holidays are such a great opportunity to work on the relationship health within the family. Going abroad offers an enriched environment and new experiences that will strengthen the bond with your kids. Nothing can beat spending quality time together – so what better way than to go away on holiday together?
The importance of meaningful conversations
Holidays give you the opportunity to truly focus on your children without distractions. A quarter of children say that they only have meaningful conversations with their parents once a week, yet communication is key to bonding with your kids. To have meaningful conversations you must be able to listen as well as talk. Try to always appear available and willing to lend an ear, and your children will start talking to you about everyday problems and eventually more serious issues.
Just beware that when you are raising your kids single-handedly, you might feel tempted to treat them like adults telling them anything and everything starting from a bad day at work to relationship problems. Or you might go the other way and avoid telling them things in an effort to protect them, be it about an absent parent or the fact that money is tight. It is natural to want to avoid confrontation but be careful not to make your kids feel as if you are hiding something. At the same time, don’t treat them like another adult – let them enjoy a carefree childhood.
If you are looking for a way to break down walls and lessen tension between you and your kids, then a holiday is a great opportunity to lay the groundwork for deeper conversations.
A change of scenery can work wonders
One way to get your kids to relax and start talking is to take them somewhere different. A change of scenery can work wonders on the soul and new places and activities will give you and the children something to talk about. In fact, the excitement of your single parent holiday will release endorphins that will help your kids open up. Nothing beats the excitement of seeing exotic animals or a beautiful beach for the first time, after all. Just make sure, your family holiday also leaves you plenty of time alone with your kids. You could, for example, go on a road trip, as it offers plenty of opportunity to chat but would also mean you get to discover lots of new places together.
A trip on a yacht in the Mediterranean is another fantastic way to see new places together and bond. A beautiful yacht where you can spend endless hours fishing, snorkelling, scuba diving and relaxing with your kids will really set the right mood. Kids of all ages can snorkel safely now with easy-to-use and inexpensive full face snorkel masks. You could charter a sailing or a motor yacht through Vyra, who would help set your itinerary and provide a crew. If you have any sailing experience you can help the crew with the boat, and perhaps your kids can lend a hand as well. This is a great experience for parents and children to work together. Sailing along the beautiful Mediterranean as a family will undoubtedly bring you all closer together.
Speaking of cruises, if you fancy something exotic, why not take the kids on a cruise on the Amazon River? Chug your way up the world’s longest river on board the Manatee riverboat. Travelling the chocolate covered river together spotting exotic wildlife in the Ecuadorian rain forest, walking jungle trails and discovering the unique flora and fauna of the “flooded forests” will be an amazing opportunity to bond with your kids. And the peace and tranquillity of the Amazon River will soon rub off on you and the kids as you relax and enjoy the holiday of a lifetime.
Give your kids responsibilities on holiday
When you are on your getaway, assign jobs to your kids and teach them about responsibility. A road trip or holiday on a boat are just perfect for that. The tasks do not have to be overly complicated or hard, but they should be things that need to be done consistently, and if not completed well, have consequences. This can be cleaning, cooking, laying the table or keeping their own space tidy. The goal here is to give the kids a sense of achievement and a sense of responsibility. Remember to let them fail if they do not get their responsibilities right and let them also bear the consequences. Just be sure to give your children an opportunity to try again or make up for not fulfilling their task correctly. Whatever you do, don’t focus on your children’s failure but praise your kids for what they have accomplished.
Dealing with grumbling kids on holiday
Your kids might not like a holiday with responsibilities and might initially complain about this, that and the other.
Check the basics
Kids of all ages function better when they are well rested, keep a routine and regular meals. Exhaustion, low blood sugar levels, a break from routine and even dehydration and overstimulation can cause tempers and tensions to rise, and suddenly your bonding holiday feels anything but. If your kids are well-fed and rested, could they be bored? Busy kids don’t grumble so offer distraction or even increase their responsibilities, especially if they enjoy the little jobs you have given them.
Remember to praise
It is a really big deal for youngsters to receive compliments from people they respect, especially their own parents who they desperately want to impress. So, use every opportunity you can to tell them how proud you are of their achievements. These could be about small things, including where they have shown good manners or are helpful. Also focus on other things, like thanking them for breaking bad habits. The idea is to get them to respond to positive reinforcement, and to have them see how much you are noticing their actions. In the end they will want to continue to receive that positive feedback from you, so their actions and behaviour will improve.Even if you feel tired at times, and if you feel your single parent holiday is not as perfect as you had envisaged it, don’t dwell on it. Focus instead on the quality time you are spending together, the memories you are creating and the deepening bond with your kids. Being a single parent is one of the toughest jobs on the planet, and going on holiday with your children on your own can be hard work. But the rewards are immeasurable. Nothing beats being together and growing closer as a family.