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To wonder if holidays with small children are a waste of time and money?

(96 Posts)
Waitrosesaysimessential Mon 14-Mar-16 11:46:51

We have two small kids, 2 and 4, and are just back from a short break at a family hotel. Whenever we go away, first few nights they always struggle to settle in new beds, so we are all tired during the days. Their behaviour gets bad and us parents are grumpy and any issues are heightened. Is it just me or is it pointless bothering to go away? Maybe we would just be better staying home til they are 7/8? Everyone else always seems to have such a fantastic time...or are they fibbing?

jimijack Mon 14-Mar-16 11:50:01

No, it's not a holiday with kids, It's the same shit somewhere else.

mouldycheesefan Mon 14-Mar-16 11:54:53

I love going on holiday with my kids. But at some point in the year I always go somewhere with childcare options so I get some free time at some stage, plus babysitting so can go out for dinner etc. And luckily mine are not bothered d about strange beds whether it's a youth hostel or a five star hotel
If none of you are getting much sleep then it is going to be hard to relax and enjoy yourselves.
What Is it about th beds that the kids find tricky? If you could sort the sleeping issue that may be the answer.

GrumpyMummy123 Mon 14-Mar-16 11:55:09

We love going away! Although just one 2 year old to bring along. Not a fan of hotels so tend to self catering - caravans, lodges, cottages or during the summer we go camping. We fund taking all our own stuff actually makes it easier. Having 2 bedrooms is also really important as none of sleep well if he is in our room as he gets so excited we're there he wakes up and we can't relax creeping round trying not to wake him!
Camping is fantastic - all that fresh air we sleep well and it's great going with other families to share the child watching burden and adults can sit about chatting while kids play! For the first time we're booked onto a couple of family friendly festivals this year too. Like camping but with entertainment laid on too!

centigrade451 Mon 14-Mar-16 11:55:39

I worked out early on to just pick a hotel with a nice indoor swimming pool and leave the kids with DH in the pool. They have a great time, I get a bit of a rest. The kids get tired out and they sleep well.

I personally agree that there is no 'need' to go on a holiday. Sometimes I think it is just a cultural thing people think they must do.

RatOnnaStick Mon 14-Mar-16 11:55:50

Same shit different place. I make a point of never staying anywhere with lower quality accommodation than home because I bloody well deserve a big bed, great shower and decent furnishings as a minimum at the end of the day when the little buggers have gone to bed.

breezydoesit Mon 14-Mar-16 11:56:36

jimijack I just snorted with laughter at your comment. So true

Millionprammiles Mon 14-Mar-16 11:57:08

Some people's kids can (apparently) sleep anywhere. Or maybe they have one unsettled night then sleep 12 hours a night no problem.

If you've one of those children then you probably have lovely, relaxing holidays. Anyone else is lying through their teeth.

pinkcan Mon 14-Mar-16 11:58:23

I didn't go away when mine were really little - once they are out of nappies, able to walk without buggy, needing less paraphernalia, able to communicate and obey instructions then it's better.

Arneb Mon 14-Mar-16 11:58:48

It was hard work at those ages but we all loved holidays - just needed a break when we came back as we were often exhausted.

Are you going to child friendly locations? I mean lots of exiting stuff for the age ranges not just a child friendly hotel. Trying to pack to much in - or not enough running round to exhaust the children?

I think you could stop with little problem - wait till they are older and remember the trips more.

Other children might travel better, sleep better in different locations deal with changes in routine better so I wouldn't assume everyone else is fibbing - perhaps bit luckier in children's temperament in this area.

Iamblossom Mon 14-Mar-16 11:59:01

it is hard, and it is taking the work with you. But I don't regret any of the ones we have done (ok maybe the week in Fuerta Ventura for MIL's 60th but that's another story) as each time it gets easier and you appreciate it more because it does. IYSWIM. And the good times outweigh the bad and it's all memory making isn't it?

SpringerS Mon 14-Mar-16 12:00:24

It depends on where you go and what you hope to achieve. Last year when DS was 2 I took him to a small holiday park for 4 days mid-week, off-peak. It was great. He had a fantastic time getting to walk and run all the time with minimal restraint, surrounded by other toddlers. Our days were spent swimming, dancing, at indoor and outdoor playgrounds, on the beach and at kids shows. He was super happy all the time. There was nothing in the holiday for me, except for the fact that my favourite thing in the world is to see my son super happy for days on end. So due to that we both had an absolutely wonderful time and went back twice more last year with friends and will be going back for a full week at the end of next month.

That said, he's breastfed, so even with the intense excitement of being on holiday with his two very excited friends if it took 30 minutes for him to fall asleep once I take him to bed, I'd consider that extreme.

GlindatheFairy Mon 14-Mar-16 12:02:19

We tend to have very child-centred holidays - if they are happy we are. When they are little they are just excited to be going somewhere and I agree that it doesn't need to be expensive or flashy. Personally I wouldn't bother taking them to Disney and the like until they are old enough to remember the experience. I found the first holidays with DD1 as a baby were a shock and no holiday at all for me. We found going away with family on hand to help was best so we both got a break too. DDs are 10 and 7 now and ever since they have been able to entertain themselves in a pool or do some activities without being supervised by us it has been far more relaxing!

JimmyGreavesMoustache Mon 14-Mar-16 12:02:42

when our DC were that age, we stuck with UK holidays
DC1 in particular struggled with even pretty small changes to her routine as a preschooler. Renting a half-decent cottage and doing day-trips elsewhere in the UK allowed us to have a "change is as good as a rest" kind of holiday. But nothing that people without DC would recognise as a holiday.

we went abroad for the first time when DC1 was 7, and DC2 was 3.5, and that went pretty well , so there's light at the end of the tunnel.

PestoSkiissimos Mon 14-Mar-16 12:03:02

DH thought the same, so we didn't resume going on holiday until DD1 was 5 & DD2 was 3.

IndridCold Mon 14-Mar-16 12:04:28

I agree with you OP. We just didn't bother, but then we live in Cornwall anyway so we could go to the beach anyway.

BayLeaves Mon 14-Mar-16 12:07:13

If you genuinely don't enjoy it, and neither do the kids, it's a waste.

If it's hard work, but you enjoy it and you're making different memories rather than 7 years of same-old-same-old, it's worth it.

I have found it useful to lower/change your expectations of what a holiday is. The first holiday we had with a baby/toddler went badly, and I think it's because we were still judging holidays on how relaxing they are. To many of us a holiday means relaxation. But a holiday with small kids is never going to be as relaxing as being at home with your usual routine.

So rather than thinking "holidays are for relaxing" you have to think "holidays are for doing/seeing something different". Your kids can have different experiences too and you can have fun seeing them do new things.

Seeing your toddlers splash in shallow water in a nice beach destination is something you might not be able to do back home in the UK. Or watching a 4 year old doing his first skiing lesson and marveling at how much more naturally it comes to him than it does to you. Dragging a whiny toddler up the Empire State Building or through the streets of Venice? Not as fun as it was pre-baby but still more interesting than dragging a whiny toddler round Debenhams back at home.

It depends if you enjoy holidays because you have the travel bug and you love the feeling of being abroad/away from home, or if you only enjoy holidays for the relaxation factor. If it's the latter, it's pretty pointless and you might as well stay at home.

Finally, no-one likes to admit it but there's always the smugness of having more glamorous family photos to post on Facebook...

Muskateersmummy Mon 14-Mar-16 12:08:02

We couldn't do a hotel holiday. So many reasons that for us it just wouldn't work. So self catering cottages/villas work much better for us. And we accept that dd's normal routine is going out of the window. The fun stuff we get to do during the day makes up for the less than ideal night situations that occur! Mostly involving early nights for me, and dh watching DVDs with a beer!

This time we are staying at home, doing lots of day trips but with our own surroundings.

wigglesrock Mon 14-Mar-16 12:11:00

I love taking mine away blush, we first went away when dd1 was 11 months, dd2 was 8 months or so and with dd3 she was away from 16 weeks old. Mine aren't great sleepers anywhere, so I'd rather be tired somewhere with nice weather and a pool and a constant supply of coffee, food that someone else had made and cleans up.

To be honest I just found it quite easy - up stick some shorts on, breakfast, pool, back inside for a play/doze/tv - lunch then later in the afternoon more swimming, maybe a walk, dinner, bed, some sleep and repeat. I couldn't do it here (UK) when they were younger but that's more me than them. My kids are now 10,8 and 5 and its absolute bliss going away with them - horses for courses I suppose.

Arneb Mon 14-Mar-16 12:11:31

Sometimes it also focusing on the good bits.

We did a long weekend in a northern city we'd moved from few years earlier - with 3 young children. Great weekend but journey back by train was unbelievably awful.

Stuck next to busy smelly loo in bit between carriages crammed in with lots of other adults - trying to make sure the baby in the sling and the two toddlers weren't crushed by adults who apparently couldn't see them and moving bags and collapsed pushchair every two minutes realising we were paying just under a hundred pounds for this journey- having that for hours then having to get on with the rest of the journey afterwards - delayed trains, buses taxi and walk and it getting later and later.

Never had a journey quite that awful since - and overall the weekend was very enjoyable.

Shemozzle Mon 14-Mar-16 12:12:49

Do you try to stick to your usual bed times and routines on holiday? We never have a problem getting the kids to sleep on holiday because we do away with bedtime. If we are in a lodge/centre parks type thing we stay up late watching movies and all go to bed together. If we are camping the kids run around playing as long as they want. We don't encourage early bedtimes on holiday because we'd rather they had a good sleep and maximised chance of them sleeping longer. In fact going on holiday is the only time we don't have an issue with bed times! All the day trips and walking and fresh air I think really helps.

lionsleepstonight Mon 14-Mar-16 12:15:37

I just second everything everyone else has to say. We made sure we went away every year for a two week beach holiday since DC were 18 months. Looking back I think we must be masochists as I'm not sure 'enjoy' summed any of them up. But each year they've got better (combination of older kids and being more choosy over hotel facilities). Worth the £££? Not sure. This year it's Legoland and Centre Parks. But I will miss the oppertunity to lie on a sunbed in the sun no matter how short a time it usually was for!

MrsJorahMormont Mon 14-Mar-16 12:17:53

DD sleeps well when we're away but the heat also gives her one enormous, insane tantrum every day. This year she'll be old enough to go into the kids' club. I have high hopes of actually getting a break!

mouldycheesefan Mon 14-Mar-16 12:18:25

IT does get easier when they are older. Took my 7 year olds to New York last year and it was fantastic,

BarbarianMum Mon 14-Mar-16 12:21:11

We camped and loved it. It did help that the kids settled easily at night and we didn't have ambitions of couple time or doing anything much beyond poddling about on the beach though. Just enjoyed spending time as the 4 of us.

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