*This is a contributed post.
Every parent gets to the stage of needing time away from the kids at some point. Ask your own parents – they’ll tell you! Whether your family has been stressed out a lot lately, you’re worrying about finances or plain worrying in general, or you know you’re just not functioning at your best, you need a break. How about a break away from your kids? Family vacations have so many benefits, and can help to relieve everybody of day to day anxiety – however, sometimes, you just a need a break on your own or with a partner so you can get home feeling right as rain again.
Here are some pointers so that you can make the most of a break away from your kids:
Making Sure Your Kids Are Ready
It’s important you make sure your kids are ready for you to go on a trip without them. It’s common for them to get separation anxiety from 6 months to 2 years old, so if you can avoid leaving them before this time, then that’ll be better for everyone.
Young kids are better off staying in their own homes if possible, so that their routines don’t get thrown too much out of whack. Make sure you take the time to assure your kids they haven’t done anything wrong, and that you’ll be back before they know it. Younger kids in particular may see you going on a trip as some kind of punishment.
Kids age 6-8 might like to keep something of yours while you’re gone, so consider leaving a toy or a t-shirt or something that smells like you. Schedule fun activities for older kids while you’re gone, or give them a challenge, such as writing diary entries for you to read when you get home.
Teens may not think they need a babysitter at all, but it’s best to have one if you have younger kids too. If you only have a teen, explain why you will feel more comfortable with somebody else checking in on them.
Refuse To Feel Guilty
It’s so normal for parents to feel guilty when taking a break away from their little ones. Taking a couple of days to yourself is absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. It’s so easy to lose who you are when you become a parent, but having this time to yourself can help you to rediscover yourself again and feel happier than you have in a long time.
Feel free to call your kids for a few minutes each day just so you can make sure they’re ok and reassure them you’ll be home soon – but don’t spend too long on the phone. It could make it worse for both parties if you spend too long on the phone, you’ll both begin to miss one another and the guilt could set in without your permission. Make sure you know whether your calls are going to be reassuring to them, or make it worse for them if they’re missing you.
Find A Babysitter You Have Total Trust In
You won’t have to worry if you find a babysitter that you have total trust in – ideally, a family member. Somebody the kids are familiar with already. A grandparent or an aunt could be a good idea if they will agree to taking care of them for you. Don’t be afraid to put things in place before you go on your trip that will give you peace of mind, such as a list of what to do and what not to do, as well as their usual routines. Here are some ideas:
- How to use any car seats or pushchairs.
- Tips for comforting your child.
- Babyproofing your home.
- What to do in an emergency or fire.
- A list of important phone numbers.
- Where to find a flashlight.
- A copy of your travel itinerary.
- Health details such as doctor/dentist names.
- Anything else you deem appropriate.
This way, you’ll know you haven’t forgotten anything and you can begin to recuperate on your trip without a care in the world. You may also want to leave things like swimming membership cards, cash for food/snacks, a well stocked refrigerator and medicine cabinet, and perhaps even a new toy for each child.
Look For Amazing Places To Stay
You’re going to want to stay somewhere amazing if this break away from your kids is truly going to be worth it. Staying in a hostel or a super cheap hotel will likely make you wish you stayed at home. Instead, lookup reviews of hotels near you, and see what fits into your budget. If you can stretch to 4 star hotels in London you’ll have a fabulous time. These hotels are very clean, often have free wi-fi, and many of them even have spa and gym facilities for you to use. You’ll barely need to leave the hotel at all!
You will probably want to leave your hotel at some point, though, so make sure you stay somewhere with plenty of options when it comes to what you can do. Maybe you could go and see a show, have a beauty treatment, or indulge in some retail therapy. Do the things you don’t often get to do at home and really enjoy it. If you’re going with a partner, perhaps you could plan a romantic bike ride to explore the area, a trip to see some great monuments, and a meal at a fancy restaurant.
Can’t Take A Break? Get Into A Quiet Time Habit
It isn’t always possible for parents to take a break when they feel like they need one. If it’s not something you can do for the foreseeable future, try to get your family into a quiet time habit instead. This is where you set an hour or two every day as ‘quiet time’. Your kids should be finishing off homework, playing with a quiet toy in their bedrooms, reading, or doing something else that keeps the house quiet. You can then use the time to take a nap, read, or just relax. Doing this regularly should help you to feel like you get a little break every day.