Last night I finally shook the sand out of my canvas/holiday bag. It was a sign that my holiday had most definitely come to an end and about time too – I was very lucky to have enjoyed a longer one than usual this year.
We had an incredible time but the idea of a “holiday” certainly changes once you have kids. Mornings spent lazing in bed reading the latest summer novel? Scratch those. Images of yourself lying prone on the beach while your hubby leisurely rubs sun tan cream on your back? Uh, not so much.
But if you head off being just a little bit prepared, there is still some rest to be had. So without further ado, here are five things I learnt this holiday that should help me plan the next one a little bit better:
- Beach: Your toddler may be recently potty trained but all this changes on the beach, when you are far away from bathroom facilities. A bucket can be used for more than just making sandcastles (!) – it’s also a useful stand in for a potty. You can then go and empty it out in the closest public toilet.
- Bugs: if you spend your holiday close to water there are chances that mosquitoes will be out and about, causing mayhem to both you and your child’s sleep. Always switch off lights that aren’t being used and take along some child-friendly bug spray and candles. Also have anti-itching cream on the ready for those nasty bites, as well as plasters (because a plaster is often the only thing that will placate them!).
- Food: You can never EVER have enough snacks. Raisins in the beach bag and biscuits in the car are vital if you’re out and about near a mealtime and your child is getting grouchy and hungry. On that note, it’s pretty difficult to maintain an ideal eating regime for them when you’re away from home. So as long as they’re getting something down their gullet every day, and something healthy now and then, don’t be too hard on yourself.
- Sleeping: To make sleeptime as familiar as possible we took along a favourite blanket, pillow case and three stuffed animals. So even though we were in unfamiliar situations, she still slept decently because she had some of her favourite things with her. As it was warm and the sun rose early, it also really helps having proper blinds and dark curtains in their room so that they (and you) are not waking up at the crack of dawn. You should also try and stick to their napping and sleep routine (if at all possible), as this will mean better sleep and more rest for everyone concerned.
- Grandparents/family members: If you’re lucky enough to have hands-on grandparents or other family members who want to be involved with your child, then enjoy it! Don’t be shy to leave them with Granny or Grandpa for a few hours while you enjoy a meal out or a walk on the beach. Every family is different but because we don’t live in the same city as Rachel’s grandparents, I could tell mine really enjoyed the privilege of getting her all to themselves and spending quality time with her. Plus, it gives you the break you really deserve.
Today is the last day of school holidays and like most parents, I’m more than ready for that back-to-school day. Here’s to new friends, new experiences and an adventure-filled 2013.
Photo courtesy of Stephen Mountain.