To not want to go on holiday as a family again?(161 Posts)
We (DS 4.5, DD 2 & husband) are currently on holiday in Australia. It goes without saying, that we've spent a lot getting here, and are spending a lot during the 3 weeks we are here too. But- I'm really not enjoying it. We are constantly telling the children off (not listening, running by the pool, shouting in restaurants, moaning etc etc). I just feel like I'd prefer to be at work and for them to be at nursery. Are we doing something wrong? I feel like am being a misery when we should be having the time of our lives. Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated...
Maybe just the wrong type of holiday? Unless you're visiting family I'd stay much closer to home in very family friendly places until they're older. 3 weeks is a long time away from their normal routine for little kids, too.
Two year olds and 4 year olds are hard work. I'm in the US right now but my dc are 9 and 5(twins). One twin whines quite a bit re walking (to be fair we've had a few 10mile days so she has a point). We went to Canada when twins were 2 and dd1 was 5 and it was great but we were visiting family so they helped out and we had lots of space in the house we stayed in, eating in a fair bit. Eating every day in restaurants with tired children is never fun.
It's not relaxing most of the time. Same shit, different location!
You have to change your expectations. Are the restaurant children friendly? I don't mind mine running around a bit. Tables near the wall is better as they can play away from the main thoroughfare. Avoid pools unless they can swim? Splash parks are a lot easier, or beaches. Try to find a place the children are interested to go to everyday. Sometimes it's just the playground! I did Australia 2 years ago when DC were 3 and 6 months. They get easier to travel with as they get older mainly because DH and I learned coping strategies
And do you have tablets? 4 and 2 can usually glue themselves to games and videos for a while?
Too far too early maybe.
We did that - I've always been a keen far-flung traveller and was convinced my child would just fit in. But reality was we just didn't enjoy it at all. So for now stick to a 2-hr-ish flight radius and go for child-friendly holidays like farm stays or youth hosteling or beach, with facilities to self-cater (usually have lunch out and dinner back where we are staying). Not 100% my type of hols but actually surprisingly nice for (fairly) relaxed family time, especially if there's lots of other kids to play with.
I think you went about 2 years too early.
I took mine to WA at Christmas- they're 6&4- and that was about right, although we still had our moments and our flight time is only 7 hours! 2 year olds are mega hard work as you cant reason with them and they dont appreciate anything. Plus you have limited toys etc to keep them entertained.
Also, I think when you're usually at work during the week and not used to it, 21 days straight of 24/7 parenting is a lot to adjust to.
Finally, there's so much pressure now on parents to do crazy adventurous trips with small kids and feeling inadequate if their DC dont slot right into a 6 week backpacking trip of laos, but, yeah, put it this way, I think you often hear the (very) edited highlights.
I agree with the others, perhaps they are the wrong age for that kind of long haul holiday. 5 and 2 are quite challenging ages - OP it's not you, it's them. But it will get better, something with a kids club for a few of years then you can long haul with a very different experience.
I agree too far too early.
Small children generally prefer their own homes and routine. Outings to local parks and farms are much more enjoyable for everyone at this stage.
My dd is almost 9. We do holidays at Park Resorts, centre parcs, Butlins, etc. From age 5, we started flying to sun all inclusive destinations and driving to Disneyland Paris. Holidays are about the kids these days and you are expecting far too much from a toddler and preschooler. At this age, life is all about toys and going to Australia, I assume you haven't brought very many. They're probably bored and tired and overwrought.
Thanks for the wise words ladies. We have come over because my brother is working here for a few years, so it was "a good opportunity". I definitely think I am struggling to adapt to the 24/7 parenting when I usually only see them for a few hours each day and the weekends. Bizarrely, it's the older one who is being more of a nightmare- as well as the general not listening and shouting (think he is excited) we had wee accident at 5.30am & part poo accident at the pool yesterday. He has been potty trained for 2 years I should prob cave on the tablet front (we usually limit to journeys only).
Holidays with small children should be re-named as 'childcare in a different location'. They aren't holidays! Maybe try using the rest of your holiday to adjust to what the kids need to do - get them up early and out by the pool to burn off steam, then get back to where you're staying over lunch for quiet time and watch a movie etc. Whatever it takes to keep them happy really, because if they're happy, so are you.
He's 4.5. You're expecting him to behave like an adult. Wee/poo accidents are perfectly normal at that age. My dd at at that age used to get very engrossed in her activity and just not quite make it to the loo. I did think you probably work full time when I wrote my last post. I'm a sahm so I can imagine you're having a bit of a shock just what hard work having kids full time can be especially when not in the home environment.
It's your brother's pool then you can't avoid it. I found supervising small children around a pool very stressful! But the ones in Australia should be fenced? For the wee and poo accidents your DC1 might just be very excited? I don't have experience with poo accidents. But to avoid wee ones, I remind my DCs at set times and also when leaving home and before long journeys. I use chocolate and sweets to bribe them to go. The 2 yo can't be bribed though but you don't have a problem with him isn't it? I threatened my 2yo with pull ups if she didn't go.
I find holidays difficult because i am out of my routine, although there is an enjoyable streak to it for me. I'm 47 - a 4 year old is going to struggle about three times as much and a 2 year old even more.
OK, you're in Australia, you're on holiday - but lower your expectations. Make a routine that is bearable for you and that the kids can deal with and then hope for a few good moments when you are really relaxing and connecting with your kids - there will be a few seconds to remember like that. Probably when you are doing something completely mundane like making the beds.
They are still small it's just different as they grown up. One day you'll miss this time
Yes, i agree with everyone... it's just a bit too early, and it gets better!
We took our DS aged 4.5 to Spain (from the UK) a few years back and it was an utter nightmare.... to the point my DH has flat out refused to go away on a holiday again. I took DS camping last year, and I have booked us a very small trip away at the end of summer, which I am forcing DH to come too as well. DS is 7 now. I have just noticed that everything that used to be hard is easier now, so I am assuming holidays will be too.
You have gone such a very long way, with such little children. It sounds so so stressful.
Yes- lower expectations.... see if you and DH can tag team for the days so each of you gets a break for a few hours.
Goodluck, and my sympathies.
Holidays with small children are vastly overrated imo. I think we generally only hear / see the very edited and selected stories and photos!
We're going to a cottage by the sea this year. Exotic no but (reasonably) easy and straightforward.
Best of luck
We had to decide to forgo a similar trip as the DCs are hard enough work at home, and for the price we were going to have to pay I'd want to actually enjoy myself.
Yes I used to moan when my husband refused to consider holidays abroad when ours were little. In hindsight he was right and UK/centre parc holidays were better than sitting in airports, strange food and cramped hotel rooms.
I also think they are just babies still and their routine has been thrown out completely. You want a holiday but they need attention. Sitting by a pool is hard work for tinies - what are they actually meant to do?
Add in that it cost a small fortune so you had high expectations and I can see why you're upset that there is a reality gap.
Let them use tablets, have meals away from pool edge, plan structured days that Centre on their needs (park with swings, beach with buckets and spades, zoo rather than expecting them to enjoy relatively adult times.
Persuade your husband to have them for an evening whilst you go to a Spa or similar.
We are considering a trip to Australia when DS will be 8.5.....even 12 months ago it would not have been up for discussion as being away was such terribly hard work. But fingers crossed.
Your brother is there for a few years OP? Do you have the opportunity to go again towards the end of his stay there? How old will the kids be then? I am just wondering if you say 'well, this time has been abit of a damp squib, but next time it could be great'.
But I am sorry. Our Spain trip was so disappointing as it had taken me some time to persuade my home-bod DH to go anywhere, and so the disappointment of it all really impacted me for a bit.
Agree with most. You have to accept they're v young and design hols which they will enjoy, otherwise no one will enjoy anything. Thongs like not running beside pool etc.... Well u can try but in reality if you're beside a pool, u or Dh needs to be on duty the whole time. At that age tbh one of u needs to be 'minding' them all the time.
Re toilet accidents , happens. Not a big deal, not something to get annoyed about.
Kids that age want to play, not sit quiet and ignore interesting things , to them, beside them. Playgrounds, parks, beach and pool are the best entertainment at that age.
Hope u enjoy the rest of holiday
Some people think we are crazy but my dd is 3 and we have been to a few places now. The absolute worst holiday are beach holidays. I outright refuse to go on them anymore. Dd is bored within seconds of arriving on the beach or crying because shes too hot etc and I spend the whole time saying don't do this don't do that.
The best holidays we have been on have weirdly been city holidays which as a couple had not really done, we always went on beach hols before. Now when we go to these big cities if dd isn't sleeping because of time differences etc we can just go out and entertain all of us and we find ourselves actually enjoying the time. Different things work for different families. Recently went to our second US city with dd and loved it. Did Canary Islands for two weeks and was hell! People always think we're mad for going to big long haul cities but I'm not going on another beach holiday until dd snaps out of being bored within 5 minutes !
I never enjoyed holidays when mine were small, they were so much hard work, harder than being at home. It was just a chore. Like others have said 24 hour childcare, without the home comforts and safety, so you are always on alert.
Once they could swim, and wash and dress themselves and behaved in confined spaces like restaurants they became a delight and we went further and further away. We still all holiday together and they are in their 20s. We were doing Australia and th US though when the youngest was about 7, before that Europe was far enough.
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