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Infant - Month #46

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Surfin' USA: It's Time for a Vacation

By Lindsey Hill, edHelperBaby

We Need A Vacation
           Each day seems to pass by quicker than the day before. You're so busy running kids here to there, cleaning up after everyone, possibly working a full or part time job inside or outside of the home, signing preschool forms, playing dress-up with your kids, and doing your best to please everyone but yourself on most days. Maybe it's time to hop in a car or on an airplane with your spouse and get a little bit of "you" time in before you've completely gone nuts. Or maybe it's just time to toss everyone's bags in the car and get away from the hustle of your day to day routine.


Vacationing Without Kids
           There was once a time when you and your spouse could hop in a car or on a plane in a day's notice and get that well-deserved break from your hectic lives. However, now that you have kids, a vacation alone seems like a distant dream and there are far too many things to deal with before you leave, so why even go, right? Wrong. Taking a couple's vacation can be very relaxing and will rejuvenate your relationship. It will also allow you time for remembering why you got married in the first place. Research shows that your children's strong sense of well being is dependent upon the relationship you hold with your spouse. Allowing time to rebuild that nurturing bond between the two of you will, therefore, rejuvenate your relationships with your children, regardless of opposing views. With a little preplanning and organizing now, you'll have the chance to enjoy yourself with minimal guilt, and you might even be able to avoid calling home every hour.
  • Find a map of the United States or the world, depending upon your travels. Locate your state and the location of your destination with your children. Post the map in a visible spot for your children to see.
  • Hang a calendar with the days you'll be absent marked off, or allow your children to mark off the days as they approach your expected return.
  • Return with a small but special item for each child that might be unique to your vacation spot.
  • Read some or all of the books from the "Book Basket" section of this article with your children and discuss your trip as you read through the books.
  • Leave your children with a close family member or friend. Do not leave them with someone they do not know well. Even try a practice run a few weeks prior to your departure.
  • Use the sticker book atlas from the "Book Basket" section and throughout your absence. Call your children and tell them about the places you've visited. Have their caregivers help them locate these places in their sticker book.
  • Leave your contact information, children's insurance cards, and money for your caregiver.


Vacationing With Kids
           Can it be called a "family vacation" or would it more appropriately be named a "family trip" because very little relaxing and rejuvenating corresponds when all members of a young family head off together away from normalcy. However, the lasting memories you will create with your family has no substitute. If you're planning a family getaway, give some of these suggestions a try to ensure a wonderful time together:
  • Make a list of items you'll need for the trip. Be sure to add toys, pediatrician phone numbers and insurance cards, comfort items such as food or blankets, and medications.
  • Set goals for your vacation and be sure to balance your needs with the needs of your children.
  • Be realistic without too many expectations.
  • Choose one or two destinations rather than hopping from hotel to hotel, at least while your kids are young.
  • Bring all of your children's comfort foods, items, and drinks.
  • Stick to a normal routine as much as possible. Spending time with cranky, hungry, or tired children won't prove fun for anyone.
  • Allow some break time for each parent by allowing at least one or two hours of alone time periodically.
  • Structure your vacation by taking a cruise or visiting an all-inclusive family-friendly resort or campground, all of which provide activities for families with children.


Parent Chit Chat
           My husband and I recently took a six-day vacation to Kona, Hawaii. The thought of leaving my two boys for this long and at such a distance was overwhelming for me. All of my friends and family, however, convinced me to take this time for myself and my relationship with my husband. So early one Sunday morning we arrived at the airport, ready to board our twelve-hour flight to enjoy many hours of relaxing together.

       Boy, oh boy! Did I miss my boys! We called home several times over the next two days and were left feeling guilty and upset after each call. Our four-year-old cried when we talked to him and our families sounded overwhelmed with the responsibility of two extra kids. We found it easier to call once a day or every other day but encouraged them to call us if they needed to.

       I would not change my decision to be alone with my husband on this trip even considering how much my little ones missed us and we them. We were finally able to relax and worried only about our own needs but both agreed that spending a long weekend somewhere closer to our home would be more beneficial for everyone.


Book Basket
           Open the pages of these unique learning books aimed for your preschooler!
  • Patch Takes a Vacation; Jo Lodge
  • Amazing Airplanes; Tony Mitton
  • Planes at the Airport; Peter Mandel
  • Busy Boats; Tony Mitton
  • Boats; Anne F. Rockwell
  • Richard Scarry's Longest Book Ever: Eight Feet of Lift-the-Flap Fun; Richard Scarry
  • Trains; Bryon Barton
  • How Do You Get There?; H.A. Rey
  • My Map Book; Sara Fanelli
  • As the Crow Flies: A First Book of Maps; Gail Hartman
  • My Sticker Book Atlas; Dorling Kindersley Publishing


Exploration Station

       Spend a little quiet time together working on these mini-books or printable activities created for your preschooler. The contents of the two airport mini-books and the alphabet train activity printables are sure to be a hit in preparing your child for an upcoming vacation whether he attends with you or has his own vacation at home bonding with his relatives or other caregivers.


Food For Thought
           Fill the fridge and pantry with your child's favorite foods and drinks and do the same for the caregivers, too. Everyone wants to feel comfortable while you're away. Leave quick and easy but healthy meals in the fridge or freezer for fast dinners that all ages can enjoy such as casseroles, lasagnas, pot pies, corndogs, and fresh vegetables and fruit that are ready to eat.


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