AIBU to not want kids to roam free on holiday camp in France?(23 Posts)
We have never gone on one of these camp style holidays where you hire what is essentially one of hundreds of caravans in the woods next to the sea in a kind of Centre Parcs environment; there is also a touring site adjoined . I'm sure many of you have stayed in these places - it looks pretty good and there are kids clubs too, which is a bonus ! God, how I would like a massage ... Anyway, husband (sorry don't know the codes for all the family members) says we are going to let the kids ( boy 8-just and girl 11) roam free with some older kids of friends . We just had a blazing row about safety etc seeing as it's the Atlantic Ocean and neither of them can swim that strongly but are quite fearless of water. I'm a little (okay a lot) apprehensive. Maybe I'm over reacting but surely they need supervision in the water on body boards... Now he says it's not worth going if I feel like this as it's going to be awkward when the other parents just 'chill out' and let their kids go off wherever they like. Feels like an episode of 'International Casualty' or something waiting to happen . Any advice on how to make this situation better please!
I wouldn't go then, because I wouldn't let kids that young 'roam free' in that setting and I wouldn't be able to just 'chill out'. 'Okay, if that's how you feel, we'll arrange a different holiday.'
On the site, I'd let the roam. Beach, no way. They need to be within sprinting distance.
We used to roam free on the site st this age with friends, but no way would we have been allowed to if there was a beach next to it! What about one further inland?
They roam to the shop to buy bread, they roam to the play park, they never go near water unsupervised, in other family's caravans or tents, they stay together/wait outside toilets. Why would you spend 50 weeks a year being careful and a few not? Your husband wants a holiday Huh...don't we all, however...
Actually plenty of my holidays were just like Casualty international/ bay watch Euopean edition. My parents didn't know what to do without a car to leave us in
It's France and totally normal there. All sites we stayed at were very family friendly and the kids all mingled together fine. I had no issues with them going off exploring and playing together. If they went on the beach they stayed together. If they are in a group with older kids of your friends I can't see a problem at that age. They'll be bored silly if you make them stay at your cabin.
Surely it's not all or nothing? Couldn't you agree on them having the ability to roam about but not for going into the sea/only if with an older child for longer expeditions (for the 8yo, I would think an 11yo could pretty much roam free except for the water tbh)/on condition that they're back at pre-agreed times etc?
Your DH does sound over the top saying it's not worth going, but it's difficult to tell when we haven't lived through the heat of the row...
I think roaming on the site would be fine. I wouldn't be happy with them unsupervised at the beach.
Mine are allowed to roam free on holiday, but they're not allowed in water outside. They go to the pool as the lifeguards are on duty and strict, but not the sea.
Absolutely no roaming free in the sea. But yes to roaming free around the site. If they proved themselves trustworthy in sticking to agreed limits then the second half of the week I'd let them go on the beach to play ball games etc but only a specified area close to the entrance to the site and not near the water.
No matter how good a swimmer I wouldn't let them go in the water without an adult supervising. I spent a lot of time in the Atlantic on the French coast growing up and even with a very good knowledge of the beach and the currents as a late teen we still went in pairs or someone spotting from the beach and as an adult still in pairs! Far too easy to get swept out and you need to always have someone know where you are in the water.
The beaches on the west coast usually have life guards and flags warning where is safe to swim. Our 3 year old wandered off in Hossegor just as we were settling down into a spot on the beach with newish baby and two families. It was horrific but everyone began a search and he was quickly found. Running in and out of huge waves! Terrifying but thank God for a happy ending. Over 30 years ago but still makes me go cold at the thought of what might have been. Our friends stayed in the sites for many years and their children made friends for life. Is it too late to have some intensive swimming lessons beforehand?
IME lifeguards on French West coast beaches are fierce!. Everyone, children and adults does as they're told. I still wouldn't let children go to the beach unaccompanied though.
Forgot to say mine would go on beach if all together but not swimming - paddling fine and they obeyed otherwise freedom to roam would have been removed! There are lifeguards on all the beaches we've been to and they seem very switched on and alert to everything.
I wouldn't let my 8 yr old roam free (I'm not convinced she would want to anyway) - partly because of the water but also because of 'stranger danger'. All it takes is one opportunistic weirdo to spot your kids without any adult supervision. But.... I am paranoid! There's no way I could relax anyway if I didn't know where my DD was, it would be the exact opposite of a relaxing holiday, I'd be climbing the walls if she was out of sight. My DH would be the same.
I'd be ok with them playing with their friends out of sight with firm guidelines understood i.e where they could and couldn't go, not going in other people's tents/caravans whatever, not going to the beach without telling us first etc. Ours have always had free reign to some degree on those type of holidays, you'll find that many if not all the other children there will do too.
Just find out if there are life guards at the beach, if not, even paddling out of bounds without you. Otherwise let them roam free.
My childhood was spent on sites like these. I spent all my time roaming the sites with new friends that I'd meet, didn't do that off the site though.
I'd share your concerns re the beach but roaming free is entirely the point of French campsites!! They're fantastic. There is a compromise, however - any site I've been on always has areas nearby anywhere children want to be for adults - so, pool near cafe, benches/ drinks shacks near playground etc. So, we had a lovely holiday last year where our 3 (youngest 4, eldest 8) thought they were roaming free but were in fact safely in view all the time. But in relative comfort from our point of view. The chance to be on their own with other children is part of the fun though!
Just remembered, when mine first went off exploring they would have been about 10,9 and 8. We bought some walkie talkies with a 4 km range. They weren't very expensive. Worked brilliantly as could buzz them at any time and them us so that might be worth a thought.
Just tell them not to at the beach. I suppose its also what they are used to at home. By 11 I was all over the place with youth groups so was in no way liable to go swimming in the sea on my own. If your 11 year old gets picked up from school, doesnt do anything in eyeline of you and cant follow instructions then yes I suppose that fear may be valid. Otherwise, why is it this time abroad all sense will be lost?
Ditto the 8 year old. I had limits set on where I could go when in these camps (Eurocamp) but was allowed to wander and chat to children my own age. Not sure my parents left the shelter of their awning after the first full day.
I agree with PP who said that it doesnt have to be all or nothing. We have been going on this type of holiday throughout our children's lives. They are a wonderful way to give a bit of freedom without just letting them go feral!
First things first, in general the campsites are not simply fields of identical caravans. Campsites are often arranged into areas so getting around and working out where you are is quite easy.
Swimming pools are fenced off. It is not possible to accidentally run into the pool. At your children's age we would not let them go to the pool on their own.
What we did do:
- allow children to go to playgrounds on their own then follow them down and meet them there
- get children to go up to bar and buy ice creams (again with us in the vicinity)
- once holiday friends made allow them to play together on each other's pitches
Our strict rules:
- they went where they were supposed to be going so when we followed down a short while later they would be where we expected them to be
- no running through the campsite/bothering other people
- no going into other people's caravans without our permission.
Honestly, this type of holiday is great for children especially at the ages yours are.
Just tell them
They are not to go in the water unaccompanied. It's dangerous to do that even if you can swim.
Mine are all strong swimmers but I am still on alert when they are in the water. You don't know the coastline or the currents.
But everything else - I would let them run about no problem.
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