It took me a long time to realise this golden rule for travelling with kids. It’s the kind of rule that is so simple that I was kicking myself when I finally figured it out. I wish someone had told me about it sooner but it’s probably so obvious that other parents (you know, the ones who know what they’re doing) wouldn’t even think to share it. It’s the kind of thing other parents seem to realise, but never speak about! Why didn’t you guys tell me this?
The golden rule – well the rule with my kids anyway – is this..
You’ve got two hours
Let me explain.
When you’re doing anything with kids you’ve basically got 2 hours to do it.
My kids are happy, smiley, playful, energetic and content for about 2 hours at a time. After that 2 hours they need to sit down and rest somewhere quiet and relaxing. They need naps and snacks and meals and nappy changes – preferably back at a hotel room or in a villa. They need to be somewhere quiet, cool and relaxing with very little stimulation.
So when you’re planning your holidays, keep this 2 hour time-frame in mind.
What’s the idea length of time for a flight?
How long have you got when you go out for dinner?
When you go into the city to explore, how long should you go for?
You’re going to the beach?
Go for two hours.
I could go on but I think you get the idea!
Our initial problem when travelling with George was that we tried to do whatever we would have done pre-kids. You know, leave the hotel after breakfast and have a stroll around, mooch here, walk there. Stop wherever takes your fancy, have a coffee, have lunch, have some wine, explore some more.
I thought it would be lovely to do this with a baby in tow in his pushchair. He could sit back and relax, have a nap, have some milk and have a snack while he watched the world go by.
What baby wouldn’t love to be pushed around in their cosy pushchair, all tucked up while they admire the views!?
Well he does like it, but only for two hours!
When you’re travelling with kids you’ve got to have a plan. We usually have a morning plan and an afternoon plan (both roughly 2 hour activities) and this is broken up by chill out time back at the hotel. Now we know this golden rule it’s just made our lives and our travels so much easier. I know this is probably obvious to some people but I’m sure there’ll be another family out there as oblivious to this as we were!
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Note: I know every child is different and this advice will not apply to everyone. I know some people have miracle children who will stay out all day or stay up all night and not moan or whine or whinge once. If you have one of these children then I am very happy for you. Would you like to swap? 😉