What do you DO on holiday with young kids? Especially if you're on your own?
When I was single I thought of a holiday as exploring somewhere I'd never been to before. Maybe an interesting, historical city or perhaps a beautiful landscape. Plenty of walking, sightseeing and learning about the culture. Or trying a new activity. Not necessarily far-flung or expensive. But basically something active or different.
My DDs are 4 and 1 1/2 and in the summer we'll be revisiting a mediterranean town we go to each year (because my husband's extended family live there). It'll be lovely to see his relatives at the weekend but on the whole I'll be on my own whilst we're there, plus possibly the occasional afternoon with DH.
Before anyone points it out.... I know I'm lucky to get a holiday at all - a change of scene and some extra sunshine. And I realise that I have to change my expectations from pre-marriage/kids. I'm really after more constructive suggestions as to how to keep it interesting for all 3 of us.
I've seen the local sights many times now and we visited all the tourist spots in the country before we had kids. I'll obviously spend some time reading to them but, again, not all day, every day - we might as well be at home. DD1 is also into dancing, drawing and crafts. DD2 likes soft play and dolls. But I can't see how I can included any of that in our holiday. Any ideas?
I'll be hiring a car and there're beautiful views from the roads but parking's difficult away from the apartment. I'll be 20 mins' walk from a small, very busy, but sandy, beach and it's usually sunny and around 24-33 degrees. But I'm really not looking forward to sitting on a crowded beach all day, every day, making sand castles for a whole week....
Should I steel myself to a very boring long week or has anyone got any bright ideas for making it fun for the kids and myself? I could budget about £20 a day for entertainment.
What would you pack to keep them (and me) happy and what would you plan to get us all out of the apartment?
Thanks for reading all this and for any suggestions.
I concur with those who say that it may not feel like much of a holiday. BUT there will be lovely moments. Kids this age bloody love an ancient monument for example - but they may spend the time playing in the dust rather than looking at the Corinthian columns. We took our kids to Marrakech and they mostly ate ice cream and played in the gravel in the park. Also they walked along every low wall. We did one thing for the adults each day and the rest of the time we pottered about in shady parks. They weren't keen on the souks but they loved the Baadi Palace with its storks-nests and tunnels.
People in Mediterranean towns do have kids too. There may be an unappetising-looking park. But it doesn't have to be appealing to you. A bit of shade and a barely functioning swing set is enough for small kids.
We found the soft play in Marrakech and the kids spent hours on the trampoline....
Get out and go for a walk every day. The beach is almost endlessly amusing for small people. Maybe you could relax and enjoy how much fun they're having. And try and get away for a short break with DH or some friends at another time of year.
The are sounds like the town I grew up where there is nothing going on at weekends and holiday activities are geared for 6+ year olds. It seems small children don't count.
One reason why we invite my mum over to us instead of spending a week where DD gets bored as like you all children are older or not even in the area.
I think you need to see it as a visit to your in-laws and not a holiday. Are you able to take another break somewhere else so you feel a bit better? While it is important to see elderly parents, and I have my mum and my in-laws nearly 80 so I know what you mean, this is not our holiday.
Oh, and invest in a couple of the overpriced Usborne Dolly Sticker books, one way to keep DD amused for quite a long time.
It is really hard to think back and recall what we did with DS but it seemed to involve him teetering around exploring new surroundings whilst one of us followed behind, giving the other half a rest. Or, when my DH was diving, just me pootling behind DS in my swimsuit as he investigated bushes, trees etc in the park, playground or hotel grounds.
Picnics seem to delight young kids too, so you can easily spread an afternoon out on a big blanket in some shade. I used to put DS on a lounger under a cool towel for an afternoon sleep and stretch out next to him for a read/snooze. Then a game of catch with a big sponge ball can keep them active in the cooler part of the afternoon.
He seemed to sleep more in the day due to the heat/late nights in the push chair strolling around, IIRC.
The kids might be a bit too young yet, but treasure hunts are always a winner - geocaching? see geocaching.com and check out on that site whether there are any caches to find in the area you are going. we started doing it recently and you can't beat the look on their faces when you find your first treasure that someone has left there potentially years ago! Planning adventure walks to different places with picnics. Letting the little ones decide which way to go at each junction? Fix up some dates with other kids via the in-laws? Devising some i-spy cards for the 4 year old for her to tick off or a list of things to collect on the beach. Sleeping!