From Dr. Jane's Notebook
Vacations: Make Sure the Livin' is Easy
On my, summer is here! Its time to realize the unique and short-lived opportunity which
is upon us to get some rest, relaxation, and family enjoyment. Summer vacations
offer both parents and children a much needed opportunity to de-stress and regenerate
their energy levels.
For those who are planning a family vacation, the following is a "refresher
course". Most of all, family vacations should be an opportunity for all to relax and
- The best summer vacations are well-planned. Even times of relaxation need some
sort of structure so that all family members can "be on the same page". Start
each morning with an overview of the day ahead, and end each day with a brief discussion
of what was most enjoyable for each member of the family. The goal here is synchronization
of family energy. While parents remain the final decision-makers, it is important to
listen to the needs of even the youngest child in the family. Vacations are events where
everyones feelings count! Remember, it only takes one unhappy family member to ruin
a whole day.
- On long car rides, read a book out loud. Boredom on car trips is traditionally a
problem. However, a good family story book has a calming effect on passengers, is
educational, and makes the experience even more memorable. Before heading out on vacation,
a trip to the local library can provide books, and even books-on-tape, at no cost.
According to one family I know, their annual journey to visit Grandma is about 250 pages
- Give each child a daily budget for "canteen and souvenirs". Vacations
are times of growth and learning for kids. If you find yourself exhausted by constant
requests for toys, snacks and drinks, try giving each child a daily allowance of spending
money. This offers them a bit of economic freedom and provides an opportunity for kids to
learn financial decision-making. When kids are responsible for budgeting their own money,
they quickly become more careful spenders. A little bit of financial freedom for your
children also removes you from the position of "financial scrooge", offering a
much-needed break for most parents.
- Schedule time for the family to Rest and Re-group. When things begin to feel
out-of-control, it may be time to stop and digest vacation experiences. It is easy to
over-plan vacation days and end up with a cranky crowd. While families tend to function
best with a plan for the day, it is also important to change plans if the plan is too
ambitious for the amount of energy available.
I am old enough to remember when summers were long, protected periods of time. Each
summer was like an oasis in the year, and every summer was unique. As a frantic adult, it
is easy to forget the true value of summer. Whats more, as one who has a hard time
relaxing, I have come to realize that whenever I am most in need of a vacation, I
am least likely to think I need time off. For many of us, the summer is rapidly
flying by. Before its too late, take time to slow down!
ęCopyright, 2000, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.
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