Preparing for Family Travel by Separating the Kids

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I love traveling with my family. As much as I enjoy the time I travel solo, with my husband, or my girlfriends, traveling with my family is absolutely my favorite. However, rarely do I remember to take the time to travel one-on-one with my kids, which means that when the kids travel with us, they are always stuck with their brothers. Always. We rarely do kids clubs, but if we do separate from our kids it’s because we signed them up for resort  sports activities (i.e. ski lessons), together.

My little ones have been fighting a lot lately. A lot of arguing and tattle telling. A lot of whining and complaining about each other. As we start prepping for our summer road trip, it is important that we consider our children in those preparations as well, especially since they will be stuck with each other in tight hotels and car space for almost 20 days.

My husband and I took the opportunity to separate our boys when I had to travel to do a hotel review in the city. We asked who wanted to come (in other words, we gave them the choice) and planned around our individual time, so my “plan” with our youngest was the experience around traveling into the city and spending quality time and my husband’s plan with our middle son – who chose to be with his daddy – was to go to our gym’s pool for family swim. In other words, our time didn’t require a huge investment of money, simply of attention and time.

Girl Gone Travel

Never take for granted how much your kids enjoy having you all to themselves, no matter what their age.

Girl Gone Travel

Schedule alone time often. It reminds your child how special they are, as individuals, to you.

And it wasn’t just our sons who needed this. Both my husband and I shared how wonderful it felt to have the time, without interruption or noise, to just talk to our boys individually.

Girl Gone Travel

You don’t have to do more than give them your undivided attention. Just talking and listening can mean the world to them.

My little one and I didn’t do much. I walked around the hotel with him and included him in what I was doing. We picked up a snack from the hotel lobby, drew pictures, talked, jumped on the bed, and watched television, before cuddling up and falling asleep.

Girl Gone Travel

Don’t rush through your time together. Often times one sibling is around bossing the other. Let them enjoy their “alone” time as they wish.

We spent just one night, but you can make a weekend trip out of it, have a camping excursion, or one day of activities. Give your children individual attention, regardless of their age always, but especially before taking on an extended trip as a family. People often think that teenagers would hate this, and don’t even try, but my experience has been quite the opposite. Does it mean my children will never argue again? No, but it does help. Never underestimate the impact that your time has on them. It will help bond you with each child, but also help restart that connection for your child with their siblings, because as we know absence makes the heart grow fonder.

All photographs are property of and may not be used without permission of the publisher.


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Carol Cain

Carol is her happiest when on an adventure, either close to home or farther away. She's the mom to three fun boys and wife to a handsome Irish/Scot. She lives in New Jersey with her happy crew, but will always be a girl from Brooklyn. You can read her full profile here.

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10 Responses to Preparing for Family Travel by Separating the Kids

  1. charleneaross says:

    Great post Carol. I also love to spend one on one time with my kids now and then.

    When my kids were younger my husband and son and then my husband and daughter were in the Indian Guides/Princesses – a father/son, father/daughter organization run by the YMCA. He would take them individually on camping trips and I would stay home with the other. My kids looked forward to the "alone weekend with mom" as much as they looked forward to the "getaway weekend with dad."

    Now I've just got to get in on the "getaway" part!
    My recent post I Went to a Cake Boss Party

  2. Often our idea of what the perfect vacation *should* look like gets in the way of actually getting the most out a vacation. 3 or 4 or 5 people can't possible want to do the exact same things every day for 20 days or 10 (or sometimes even a weekend). I'm all for 1 parent or the other going off and doing something they really want to do or parents dividing up kids who want to do different things for part of a day here and there, or parents using the kids club so they can have some couple time. It's a better way to honor everyone's interests and those 1 on 1 relationships that do matter. and when you regather you have so much to talk about!
    My recent post Grand Waikikian Suites by Hilton Grand Vacations (Honolulu)

  3. andrea says:

    Some of my favorite memories are the trips I took individually with my dad or my mom. I hope to do the same with my kids!

    • caincarol says:

      Awww! That's so great Andrea. And that you will continue it with your own kids is really special too!

  4. With life being so busy, it is easy to get swept up in the craziness of life! Making those 1-1 memories will last forever. When I get the chance to do things with just one of my kids, it gives me the opportunity to really listen to her and share activities that we both enjoy to do together.

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