Holiday time: why wait until you go away? Get started at home!
The school holidays are vacation time. Regardless of where you are going, vacation is a time for the whole family to relax and have fun. The holidays are especially important for the kids. Studies have shown that those weeks particularly important in a child's development. On the one hand because they have their parents' undivided attention, on the other hand because they see, experience and learn a great deal of new things on holiday. And all that without sitting in a classroom or reading books. New things are experienced all the time, whether on the beach, in the mountains or while staying with grandma and grandpa.
But parents should enjoy their holiday too and have time to relax and recharge their batteries before going back to work. Here are some tips about how to make holiday preparations, the journey and the stay a success.
When are the holidays finally going to start?
Make a "countdown calendar" with the days of the last month before the holidays up until the day you travel. Take a sheet of A4 paper and divide it into 30-31 boxes of the same size. You can decorate the background together with your child with photos of your destination and nice patterns, e.g. sand, sea, shells etc. In some of the boxes you can enter things that your child has to prepare or do for the holiday.This might be "pack the sun cream" or "get our postcards ready". (The instructions for creating the postcards are in the next part).
We're off then!
You can already sort out one of the stressful holiday things at home. Make your postcards in advance and send them to friends and family. You can write things like "We're off then", "We'll be back soon" or "Can you feed my guinea pig" and decorate them with your own patterns or with pictures from the travel brochure or magazines about your holiday destination. You and your child could also add the flag of the country your visiting, some sand or any other designs for the card.
You can also create holiday postcards with checklists:
- "The weather is brilliant",
- "The food is delicious",
- "I've already got loads of freckles" etc.
are just some of the things you can write on the cards and then tick off. You can then send the filled out cards to relatives and friends from your holiday destination.
Where are we going?
Wherever you are off to, be it by plane to Majorca or by car to Austria, you have to plan your route and how long it will take you to get to the airport. Involve your children in the planning stage too.
Print out the route and stick it on a piece of card.
You and your children can then mark out the different stages with special elements (e.g. pictures and flags or Start - Home, airport, service station, border, mountains, sea etc.). That way, your children are familiar with the route and the journey will be much more interesting. Everyone knows where they are and the "Are we nearly there yet?" questions almost answers itself. The children can mark the current position on the route.
They speak funny here and don't understand me!
If it is difficult to make yourself understood on holiday because the waiters, shopkeepers and surf instructors don't speak English but rather Spanish, Turkish or Italian, a homemade "picture dictionary" or a dictionary with the most important words can be a great help.
A small notebook is ideal and your children can draw pictures of their most important words, e.g. ice cream, sea, play area, water. Then you can write the words in the respective language next to them. It is also handy to write it phonetically, so that your child knows how to pronounce the word.
On that note we wish you a relaxing holiday!