Take time out when travelling with kids

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My ex just spent three weeks travelling with our sons. As much as I love my ex-husband—he’s a good guy and we remain great friends—it’s rare for him to spend such large chunks of time with the boys. So I couldn’t help but roll my eyes a little when he said that he was exhausted from being with the kids for three weeks non-stop. I thought, welcome to my world.

Travelling with kids without a support network can be tiring. How do you have a break when you’re travelling with your kids?

–       Make sure you look after your health in the lead up to any travel. Falling ill while you’re away when there’s no one to keep an eye on the kids for you is incredibly stressful. So take extra care of yourself, while you’re away and before you leave.

–       Long-haul travel is not for movie marathons. Apparently my ex and my sons think that long haul flights are for movie marathons. I’m really strict about my kids getting sleep on a plane. I deal with sleep issues once I’m in the new time zone. A plane is not for rearranging your body clock. Get as much sleep as possible and you’re going to feel so much better once you’re at your destination.

–       Take the occasional day off. No need to see every single attraction at your destination. Chill a bit as well.

–       Have adult time. If you’re not somewhere where you can put your kids into a kids club, or hire a baby sitter, then you need to set boundaries so as you can have that alone time, or time with your partner. That might be an early night for the children, so the adults can relax alone. Or it might mean strict rules about the kids quietly reading when they wake, so you can sleep in.

–       Teach your kids that it’s not all about them. Seriously, what is it with these people who practice child-centred parenting? I believe this creates self-centred people. A family isn’t just the kids. It’s so important that everyone in a family has their needs met. If you’re going to spend time doing kid-friendly things, then your children also need to accept adult friendly activities and behave while they’re there. That might means sitting quietly at a local café or doing something that might otherwise be a bit boring to them.

–       If you’re travelling as a couple, arrange the schedule so each of you can have a day off.

Unless you’re heading off to a resort with an extensive kids program, you will be spending 24/7 with your kids once you’re on the road. Set boundaries early in your travel, and don’t feel guilty about taking time to yourself when you can. That headspace is important and ultimately impacts how enjoyable the trip is, for everyone.