IS IT possible to have a relaxing holiday with the kids in tow? Feelgood put this query to parenting website www.Eumom.ie who put the question out to its Facebook community.
The unanimous response was yes — provided you plan the holiday around the children.
“Book somewhere with sunshine and a good kids’ pool and the kids will entertain themselves,” said one parent.
“A kids’ club is a necessity,” said another.
“Make sure you go somewhere they’re likely to meet other children,” said a third.
Eumom director Olive Fogarty said the biggest mistake parents make — especially new parents — is trying to have the holiday they had pre-children.
“If you design a holiday with the kids in mind, you get a holiday. The secret is to go somewhere family-friendly, where children are catered for, and parents get a break.”
So, as per the Eumom parents’ advice, think playgrounds, pools and kids’ clubs.
These facilities mean there’ll be other children around who’ll be playmates for yours.
“Children love making friends on holidays. When we rented a cottage in France, the biggest thrill for our kids was to knock on the door of their friend two doors down. They were best friends for the week,” recalls Fogarty.
Other advice from Eumom’s Facebook community ranged from bringing very young children swimming pre-holiday — so they don’t get a shock when put in the hotel swimming pool – to ensuring you book a holiday cottage rather than a family room if you have a toddler/young children.
“It’s more expensive but it ensures privacy and peace for all and you get a decent night’s sleep.”
Bearing in mind your summer holiday is a big annual financial splash, it’s important to get it right, so ask for recommendations from friends and family, advises Fogarty.
“You won’t get it back so it’s important not to make mistakes. Do your research.”
This means reading restaurant reviews to see if they’re child-friendly, checking there’s good public transport and that the hotel offers a babysitting service at night, asking if there’s a shop where you can get emergency supplies and if there are good first aid facilities.
Fogarty recommends packing familiar toys and book to help settle young children.
“Throw in some DVDs to while away an hour or two. Let children have a say in what they’d like to do so they feel it’s their holiday too.
"And don’t try to do too much. If planning a day trip, just go to one place. Too much and it gets stressful and everyone’s cranky.”
* Plan the holiday with kids in mind. What will keep them happy/ active?
* Avoid over-planning holiday. A tightly- packed programme is a recipe for stress.
* Relax routines. It’s not the end of the world if bedtimes are a bit later.
* Make conscious effort not to be the mammy all the time — don’t cook every night!
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