Summer is here, and soon loved ones will be packing up to go on the family vacation that’s been planned for months. Family vacations can be a great time for making memories and connecting. We often have high hopes for a much-needed break from the craziness of modern life; however, these moments also can strain a couple’s relationship.
Anyone who has children knows that traveling with them is not the same as before you were parents. Hiking miles a day is unlikely with a three-year-old. You can’t go river rafting with your toddlers. Kids fight, and tensions can run high. Expectations may be unclear, and consequently, unmet. One partner wants to lie on the beach all week and do nothing, while the other wants everyday filled with activities.
Here are a few tips to make the vacation more enjoyable and a time for connecting with your partner. First, adult expectations may need to be more realistic when vacationing with kids. It may not be a time to romance your spouse or to climb a 14,000 foot mountain. One option is getting a babysitter so you can have a night together as a couple. Another idea is for each partner to give the other the gift of time to do a solo activity – e.g. getting a massage or biking – while the other partner watches the kids. These gifts can go a long way toward building goodwill.
Lastly, it’s imperative that couples communicate their expectations clearly before the vacation and respect each other’s desires. Couples also need to communicate openly throughout the trip. With a little planning and communication, family vacations can be a great time for making memories that last and having quality time with the children and each other.