Stay at home or travel with young children?(11 Posts)
We live about a 5 hour drive from my family and generally make the trip a couple of times a year. Dc are 4 and 20 months by Christmas, and we had decided to spend Xmas away but now I'm having second thoughts
not least because of stressful family dynamics do young children care where they spend the day itself? We travelled to family a lot when I was a child and I don't remember being especially put out that I wasn't in my own bed.
We had Xmas just us four last year and it was a bit disastrous with teething boob obsessed baby and tantrumming toddler. Hence trying to go somewhere with other adults to entertain the kids!
Dh family are near us but do their own thing and we don't get to see mine that much. But I want the kids to start making their own memories so is it better to stay home?
Well, it's up to you really, and how you want the day to be. Kids will be fine wherever they are
not much help.
We've been away every year, but on a ski holiday - sometimes with family, and our DD (4) doesn't seem to be bothered she's not in her own bed. DNiece went through a phase when she was a teenager that she wanted Christmas at home. We do quite a bit in the run up to Christmas to create special memories - elf, letting DD choose one Christmas decoration each year, visit to reindeer, visit to santa, going to Christmas carols and local Christmas lights event/fair.
My DC are almost the exact same age, it would be a long drive, possibly very stressful and including at least one wee stop unless you did the drive at night/bedtime. I personally would find it more stressful being in someone else's house, especially as we have fussy & picky eaters but to have the help of extra adults to entertain the kids would be a bonus. Sorry not much help, only you know if your family will be really accommodating. I don't think at that age they would be worried about being in their own beds, just so long as Father Christmas knows where to find them.
My family are usually anything but accommodating! We'd be staying with my uncle, who has little experience of little ones, and seeing my folks on Christmas day. It's mainly that I've read a few threads where people say they wouldn't dream of having Christmas away from home as their kids would be in strange beds etc etc. Feeling torn, as usual.
I think travelling to welcoming child friendly family who will give you a bit of a break is worth the journey but if not it is far far easier to stay at home where small children have their own toys and home comforts. Plus you don't then have the stress of packing at an already hectic time of year.
Are there any friends/local relatives you could invite to you to have some other adult company?
We have two children, 8 and 5. The first three Christmases we spent alternating between parents, and it worked well. Mine are 4 hours away but it was fine as there was lots of family support with a young baby/toddler, and dhs are close ish - 40 mins away, they're also pretty supportive.
I think it maybe helped with the hard slog of those early days to have other adults around to take the reins now and then with all the stress of Christmas and everyone's expectations.
But by the time we got to my dd being almost three, we both knew we wanted to have Christmas alone at home with her, so we told parents and they were fine. We have had 5 Christmases here now, just the four of us, and they've been ace. Quiet but lovely. Each one gets better.
Weirdly though I think I'd maybe start visiting again or even hosting here in a couple of years, when the 'prime' childlike Christmas years are done with! If you're staying home, I think the key is to keep your expectations low ish! Keep it all very simple, easy food, walk out or play in the park, try to avoid tantrums by managing your own expectations and keeping it more like a normal day for the children.
Good luck with your decision! Why not try one more year at home?? Could be easier....?
Oh goodness my dc have loved hte excitement of being somewhere knew, its whether your going to have help, an extra pair of eyes? someone to watch for a few mins help feed etc.
we visited family who had lethal toddler house,loads of steep stairs everywhere, hard floors, however family did step in to watch .....
I had 4 under 5. Anyone was welcome to us, but I wouldn't go anywhere. They are older now and I'm a lone parent, but I wouldn't change it.
I love that my Christmas Day is just the 5 of us, and I'm so happy I started as I meant to go on.
Two things make me think going to see your parents may not be a good idea; one is the long journey made even longer by traffic and weather problems, even if your DC are good travellers. The other is that you will be staying with your uncle who may have no idea how to toddler-proof his house and you say your family aren't really accommodating.
I don't think DC are bothered about where they spend Christmas, as long as they have their presents. You and DH have the problem of keeping tabs on the DC and not really being able to relax.
I wouldn't base this coming Christmas on what happened last year. The youngest is older, you can plan the day better. Make it easier for yourselves by eating what you want and when suits you rather than everyone else.
Thanks all. I think we've decided to have Christmas day at home and visit family immediately afterwards. Same risk of stress but less weight of expectation than if it were the day itself!
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