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First family holiday on our own - how to keep kids happy?!

(8 Posts)
JumpJockey Sun 23-Feb-14 20:21:02

Dds are 3 and 5, up til now we've always gone on holidays with groups of friends/family or in group situations (ski chalet with other young families). The longest we've done in one place with just us and the girls is 4 days, so novelty kept us happy... This summer we're torn between a) renting a house somewhere on our own (lookng at cottages in northern france with pools) or b) going for a 'resort' style place where there will be other kids about, but they're much more expensive.

How would you keep two kids happy for a week abroad, without it ending up being same shit different place? We've never had problems before as there have been other kids about to play with, and other grown-ups to share the childcare with. This summer is the first time school holidays have been an issue, and we've only got one week that both dh and I can be off work, so have to go then and can't get it to fit with anyone else.

magentastardust Sun 23-Feb-14 20:58:09

My kids never worried at that age - the excitement of travelling then they played with each other and puddling around in pools and beaches and eating fancy icecreams every day seemed to do the trick.
Oldest is 10 now and not quite as easy to keep amused.
maybe a communual pool apt type place would be best if you think they would like some other little ones to play with.

Wolfiefan Sun 23-Feb-14 21:05:09

Pool is great. Take pool toys.
New colouring book.
Bubbles.
Chalk for pavement.
Stories.
Take a favourite blanket or toy.
Plan outings carefully and take snacks.

noramum Mon 24-Feb-14 07:15:02

We self cater all the time, , DH and I hate resorts.

We found a remote villa was the worst when DD as 4. We had to drive everywhere, no playground in walking distance, we had to entertain her 24/7.

Since then we go for villas more central and in walking distance to a town so things like playground or even a short stroll at the beach are done easier.

But the best holiday we had and which we do again for the third time are holiday on a farm. Lots of other children, we choose them with things like large playgrounds and indoor playrooms available. I think we "lost" DD often for a couple of hours and could just sit down and read or drink a cup in peace.

One other thing, we carefully research the holiday destination before booking. WE all like historic things so castles, museums etc are vital. A small theme park or zoo is nice, some outdoor experiences are good as well. So making some kind of plan in advance makes it easier to keep the flow going as you don't panic "what do I do next".

JumpJockey Mon 24-Feb-14 11:33:34

Thanks all for ideas. Wolfie, chalk is a stroke of genius! Nora a farm sounds great, we did a one night stopover on a farm last summer and the girls got to see newborn calves and watch milking etc. Would you recommend any particular sites with farm stays listed? We're thinking northern France as it's driveable.

noramum Mon 24-Feb-14 14:06:42

We normally go to Germany, the problem is a lot of farms are booked at least 18 months in advance, we booked twice in autumn for August the following year.

We go this year to Lake Constance on the German/Swiss border. I think it may be drivable.

I know there are some of these farms in Majorca, not direct at the beach and I am not 100% sure if they are not totally designed for German families but worth a try.

lalasmum17 Mon 24-Feb-14 14:26:03

I suppose it depends where you are going, but I think the French/Germans/Scandi countries go back to school a couple of weeks before England. You might find that resort prices drop for that final week of August, depending on where you decide to go.

Similarly (and it has taken us a while to realise it) you don't have to go for a full week. We've found that spending a day or 2 getting to/from a resort where we stay for just a few days is just as relaxing as hurtling down the autoroutes to spend a week in one place.

Whatever you decide, it is worth spending some time looking for child-friendly activities near to where you are staying. Europe seems to have far more little theme parks and water parks where your kids can make friends.

noramum Mon 24-Feb-14 20:09:41

Germany's 16 states shuffle their holidays but the two southern ones are fixed times and go until the mid of September.

We had one bad spell last year where we stayed in a state just after the kids returned to school and all holiday activities ceased apart from some at the weekends. Ok, most attractions were less busy but it can be a bit boring.

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