Holidays with children are not always relaxing for the parents! Whilst we all dream of idyllic long walks and cultural visits to museums and the countryside, the reality is often quite different. Especially if you’re braving the UK weather and its unpredictability.
Here’s my top tips for helping you to survive a break in the UK with young children:
- Stock up on annuals – I buy them cheap after Christmas and keep them out of sight for taking on holiday, much cheaper than magazines and you don’t have to deal with the plastic ‘gifts’
- Raid your extended family’s DVD collections. The novelty of a new film, or one that hasn’t been on repeat at your house for the last six months, will last you through a good few days.
- Buy some new crayons and stickers. It doesn’t have to be expensive, pound shops and card shops often have good character sets for cheap, just make sure you get equal amounts for each child.
- Print off colouring sheets, again having something new will be a great novelty. Check out Mrs Mactivity for a great range of printable hand drawn activities, most that don’t require more than scissors and glue.
- Before you go, make a list of the soft play centres, cinemas and other indoor activities that are closest to your accomodation, including addresses, postcodes and travel time. Don’t rely on being able to get good Wi-Fi when you’re away!
- It’s also a good idea to do this with restaurants and pubs, plus checking whether they are family friendly before you get to them!
- Have a look at local county or city websites for event listings, there are often hidden gems on there that don’t show up on the national sites.
- If you’re going to be in the car for a while, make sure you have a good range of music choices. Nobody wants the Moana soundtrack on repeat all week.
- Take some treats for the adults. Holidays are not the time for dieting, so buy whatever you can look forward to at the end of a long day out (for me it’s a box of Lindt Lindor)
I’ve found that setting expectations for how a holiday is going to go is a recipe for disaster. With small children, there are so many things that could happen and you can never predict how they are going to react to being away. Relax and enjoy time with your children in a different location, and let them guide you!