The Parent Infant Centre

it can be too late
but never too early

Welcome to ourAdvice, where we share our views on topics of interest to parents.
We are keen to know your views and so please do comment on our articles.
Is there a topic that you would like us to write about? Just send us a message via 'Contact us'.

ourNews, our other blog, has more general posts, including reviews of recent research.

ourAdvice

Holiday or nightmare? Advice for a stress-free break

"Shall we go camping in Dorset or sunbathing in Sicily this summer? Or, perhaps, Brazil?" "With three very young children we all need some rest."

Wherever you go, it’s worth considering how to make this a restful, rather than a stressful break for everyone.

Whether you visit the place of your dreams or seek the excitement of discovery, remember that for small children the place of their desires and dreams is what is known: mummy-daddy-home, the familiar air, the usual pictures, bedrooms and toys.

The family atmosphere changes on holiday and familiar rooms, blankets and toys utterly change into something different and unknown. For a young child it is easy to feel uncomfortable, not knowing what to expect or when they will return to what they have lost. Familiar surroundings might be replaced by heat, intense light and strange plants and animals. Fun with parents can be reassuring, but children may still miss what they have left behind. Young children may also not grasp how long a week or two is and that a holiday is followed by a return home.

Some holidays involve a compromise, with times for parents and children to have fun together, and other times spent by the child in a crèche or holiday club, while their parents enjoy other activities. These children's clubs can be fun, but they can also be situations to be endured, where everyone is an unfamiliar face and parental love seems to be far away.

Unfamiliar experiences can leave anyone feeling anxious, but particularly so if that person is a young child. Unknown insects or plants can become elves or monsters on first encounter and the sensation of sand or waves appear as powerful and uncontrollable experiences. These fears can emerge in nightmares or as difficulties in sleeping. Waking in the night can also be a way to seek the reassuring presence of parents.

So, what are some tips to help the holiday be stress-free for everyone?

  1. Choose a holiday that is child friendly. This doesn’t necessarily mean one with a children’s club, but a holiday where you know that your child will not be distressed or can spend time, at least for the first few days, with a familiar face.
  2. As soon as you have decided on your destination, describe to your child the place that you’ll be visiting. Use as many pictures and toys as possible. Make them familiar with the location and, more importantly, with the fact that you’ll be coming back to home. Even very young children understand your words and intentions. PREPARE THEM.
  3. Explain what you are going to do and where you will visit on your holiday.
  4. Talk about the holiday destination and what you are going to find there. What will the weather be like, the temperature, vegetation and animals, etc.
  5. Make a calendar to help them visualise days and weeks, when you are going and when you are coming back.
  6. Take spare comforters or favourite toys with you that are exactly the same as the ones that your child uses. If the main comforter or toy is lost, then there is a spare available in your luggage.
  7. Observe your child’s likes and dislikes when you are on holiday. Do they really like building sandcastles, walking with bare feet or staying in the children’s club? The fact that you like these activities doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to like them too! They can be encouraged to stick with an activity and discover that it is fun, but don’t insist for too long. 

Your holiday will be more enjoyable if your child has an enjoyable time. That means good preparation and respecting their likes, longings and fears.

Have a great summer!


Comments
Post has no comments.
Post a Comment




Captcha Image

Trackback Link
http://www.infantmentalhealth.com/BlogRetrieve.aspx?BlogID=10681&PostID=631679&A=Trackback
Trackbacks
Post has no trackbacks.

Welcome to ourAdvice, where we share our views on topics of interest to parents.
We are keen to know your views and so please do comment on our articles.
Is there a topic that you would like us to write about? Just send us a message via 'Contact us'.

ourNews, our other blog, has more general posts, including reviews of recent research.

Recent Posts


Tags


Archive

4