Taking a family holiday is all about recharging your batteries and spending some quality time with your loved ones. You finish work and you look forward to getting some sunshine, maybe eating a little ice cream and sitting by a swimming pool somewhere and visiting some interesting places. That’s the plan. Unfortunately, it’s not always what happens. Arguments break out between family members and it can ruin the holiday, leaving everyone feeling grumpy when they get back and as if they’ve not had a break at all. Below looks at the causes of all this and what you can do to stop them from ruining your holiday.
What causes all the friction?
According to parenting author Linda Blair, it’s all about the build-up to the holiday. By the time the holiday arrives, people are already feeling burned out. At work, people have to clear the decks and tie up all the loose ends before they put on that out-of-office reply. Meanwhile, outside of work they, they have to organise everything. It all leaves them feeling more stressed and exhausted as the holiday approaches. Then when the holiday begins, it can feel like something of a pressure cooker, with family members being cooped up together ― a similar situation to families gathering at Christmas ― and this can cause tension to emerge and/or bubble out of control and ruin the holiday.
Sometimes, it’s about the money. The holiday and the activities don’t pay for themselves (wouldn’t that be nice!) and working out how to pay for everything becomes a bone of contention. One partner might think more about just having a nice family holiday and the kids may want to do certain activities. That’s all well and good, but it may be up to the other partner to look at the practical side ― i.e. the financial side ― and work out how to pay for it all. The pressure is on them to keep the costs of the holiday within the family budget and not spoil all the fun.
How can you avoid all this?
If you’ve lined up a family holiday before the summer is out, the good news is, it’s not inevitable that you’ll all be ready to strangle each other by the time you get to the flight check-in desk or start the car journey. You can adopt several strategies to counteract potential bad vibes:
Get some extra sleep
Ms Blair believes a lack of sleep could be at the root of all the arguments and suggests that we get more sleep as a holiday approaches. This may defy the point of a holiday, you may think, because the relaxation is supposed to begin when the holiday does. That’s when you tend to catch up on the sleep. Getting extra sleep before you go into the holiday will help you to stop feeling burnt out by the time it arrives.
Since the kids are off school all summer and you’re going to spend more free time with them, you should check that they’re bedding is still comfortable and helping them to get the rest they need. It could be a long summer if a lack of sleep is making ratty and you’re having to bear the brunt of it all. Now could be a good time to replace their mattress and put a stop to potential squabbles, which you can do with a visit to Bedstar online, where you’ll find all sorts of bedding options.
Wind down before the holiday
Again, this may seem to defeat the object of a holiday, but if possible, you should take four days to relax before the holiday itself. Don’t just do your last shift and then charge straight to the airport the next day. This is because when you finish up at work, it can take up to four days to unwind. Only then will you slide into a more holiday-oriented mode. That’s when the holiday truly begins.
Don’t organize every moment of the family’s time
If any of your kids are teenagers, they’re probably feeling and acting as if they’re too cool for school right now. Do they really want to see a cathedral or visit a museum? Probably not, so ask them first. They might be much happier spending their time at the local shopping centre in their destination, on the beach or by the pool or somewhere else. Forcing them to spend every waking minute of the holiday doing everything the grown-ups want to do is a ticket to a summertime shindy, so don’t organise every minute of their time. Instead of running the holiday with military precision, loosen control of the reins and give your teenagers (and anyone else) a little free time to relax. This will stop stress and tension building.
Book a package holiday
Is it the financial aspect that is causing all the trouble? Is it thinking of things to do once you’re there? Is it choosing somewhere to stay? Praise be to the package holiday! You can visit a sunny destination that suits all the family and your budget and which offers lots of choice when it comes to activities. This type of holiday is also a handy option if you’re looking to go away with extended family. Grandparents, for instance, may otherwise need looking after while you’re away (which could also be a source of conflict).
There’s nothing worse than arguments wrecking a family holiday. Everyone just wants to have a good time, but tiredness leading up to the break spills over into it and can really ruin things. That doesn’t have to happen. Making several good night’s rest a part of the holiday preparations and steering away from any uptight-ness while organising the holiday can make that precious quality time truly special. You’ll return back to your daily life feeling rested and ready to go again.