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On holiday with 4yo and it’s awful - is this normal??
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SatelliteFish · 02/08/2022 19:15

On holiday with 4yo DD and it’s awful.

She’s loving the fun bits, but if she’s not eating ice cream, swimming, bouncing on a bouncy castle etc she’s having a meltdown, mis-behaving or moaning. Won’t eat a single meal nicely, won’t go to bed nicely, won’t do anything nicely unless it’s a fun activity.

Epic (and I mean epic) meltdown today because I wouldn’t buy her a lollipop because her behaviour had been terrible. I said no and explained why & stuck to my guns. I do try to be strict and have some discipline but just feel like a failure.

It’s our first holiday abroad (Europe) due to Covid and DH and I are seriously thinking it will be our last. It’s not enjoyable. I’m looking at flights to leave early.

We’ve looked forward to this holiday for literally years, saved up etc and after this week it’s back to work / grindstone for the next year.

Is this normal? What age do holidays with kids get better??

Please no sarcastic comments. I’m sat here on my hard-earned holiday (first In four years) in tears. If you don’t have any supportive words please kindly pass by this thread.

Oh and DD doesn’t have any additional needs as far as we are aware.

She attends a very good pre-school and they speak very highly of her.

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BeanieTeen · 02/08/2022 19:21

Kids get over excited on holiday. Everything’s different, they’re out of their routine and some kids find that trickier to deal with than others.
Maybe at the start of the day you could set out more clearly what you’re going to be doing - like a visual holiday timetable? Then she knows where/when the excitable stuff is taking place and is more prepared for there being ‘quieter’ moments like when you’re eating. Set out rewards ahead of time, e.g. if you sit nicely during dinner we can do x y z afterwards…
How many days have you been there and how many days have you got left?

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Doveyouknow · 02/08/2022 19:21

Honestly, I think kids that age can sometimes struggle being out routine, away from home comforts and also not really knowing where the boundaries are around treats / bedtimes etc. Giving them a clear idea of what each will be like might help. It does get better as they get older (until they become teenagers)

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CuteGroot · 02/08/2022 19:22

I think holidays can be stressful for small children. Out of routine, over stimulated -=perfect territory for pushing boundaries!

Don’t fly home early! Can you and DH take a turn to take her out somewhere and entertain her / deal with the tantrums while the other one does something relaxing?

Also, you might not be able to do lots of meals out and adult-oriented stuff with her, if she can’t behave. My oldest child couldn’t deal with restaurants until he was about 6/7. He was an absolute nightmare. I used to get room service/takeaway/picnic of treats and have it on the bed while he watched cartoons. Needs must!

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pepperminttaste · 02/08/2022 19:24

Poor you! Holidays can be so stressful anyway.

My now 8 yo used to be horrendous on holiday. I remember at the end of a week in Athens when she was 2 genuinely thinking that I wouldn't have made it home alive if we'd booked for longer. Not even exaggerating! Everything was met with no. If we were on a bus, she wanted off the bus. If we got off the bus, she wanted on the bus, etc, etc. All. Week. Long.

It took us a few trips away before we worked out that being away from home seemed to be the problem (no issues with behaviour otherwise).

She has come out the other side and loves being on holiday now. I'm sure she must have been about 5 when she started to be happy about being somewhere new. Hopefully your DD will come round soon!

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Cornettoninja · 02/08/2022 19:24

Ouch, that’s hard going.

first holiday in four years and your dd is four? I think your expectations may have been unrealistic from the off to be honest. Holidays with dc are hard and personally my aim is to knacker them out but not get into the overtired danger zone. Much harder if you’re also in sweltering heat? In direct contradiction to that (Grin) I also wouldn’t let bed time become a battle, if she doesn’t want to go then fine, she can stay up with the grown ups and drop when she drops. At least it diffuses some tension.

Some kids do get out of kilter on holidays anyway and it may be that you need to choose your battles and perhaps consider if over stimulation is playing a part. Give her some control over when the nice stuff is going to happen. Decide whether it’s the pool or bounding in the morning or afternoon and stick to it.

are there any downtime activities she really enjoys? Has she got materials for drawing or perhaps watch something on a phone/iPad.

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Darlissima · 02/08/2022 19:25

What worked for us at that age was getting a somewhere rural (either UK or abroad) and just pottering about- wander down to the bakers in the morning, country walks, swim in the pool if we had one. Think DC would have found anything more high octane a bit overwhelming.

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tiedyetie · 02/08/2022 19:25

Yup, normal. They're all in a tizz because it's out of their routine

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SatelliteFish · 02/08/2022 19:25

We’re not trying to go to restaurants - she won’t even eat a piece of toast or sandwich in the villa we are staying in without a drama

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MarshaBradyo · 02/08/2022 19:26

We’re about to do a holiday with a four year old

I’m hoping it’s better than when she was younger

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obsessedwithsleep · 02/08/2022 19:27

What I found with my 2.5 year old is that she was completely exhausted all the time. The heat plus the travel plus the strangeness of it all - maybe let her have rests and screen time.

Also - repeat: a change is as good as a rest. Holidays with little ones can be total shit.

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tiedyetie · 02/08/2022 19:27

Where are you? Beach, city?

As pp's said, have a low key day i.e. beach with a bucket an spade, or a local park. Maybe stop at a supermarket and get some food/ check out a local market etc. Something low simulant

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TakeMeToYourLiar · 02/08/2022 19:28

I think it’s a boundary thing.

from the point of view of the kids we are saying:
sure have an ice cream
cake for breakfast, why not?
lets do this cool activity!
chips for lunch?
let’s play!
do you want to do this fun thing?
then alL of a sudden we flip to
no of course you can’t have another treat, you’ve had treats all day

an for them they can’t work out where that line is going to be

solidarity though as we had this on our Easter foreign holiday and now to a lesser extent on the school holiday at home

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Cornettoninja · 02/08/2022 19:28

I think she sounds overwhelmed.

MN blaspheming but I’d give her a decent chunk of time to zone out to some shit cartoons on my phone.

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SatelliteFish · 02/08/2022 19:29

We’re rural.

It’s hot but no hotter than the U.K. at the moment

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SatelliteFish · 02/08/2022 19:30

We have the iPad so yes we are having chill out time with cartoons plus drawing / colouring in etc

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Irisbouquet · 02/08/2022 19:30

My DS hated holidays until he was a little bit older. He's a creature of habit and didn't seem to get on well with being somewhere new.

He just used to keep wanting to go back to the room all the time!

Make the best of it and take turns to have some alone time, try not to stress or force fun.

It gets easier Flowers

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PoundPill · 02/08/2022 19:31

I've only ever taken mine to resorts with kids clubs so no help other than do that next time

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turquoise1988 · 02/08/2022 19:31

It's probably a combination of things - still being tired from end of term, change of setting, routine, etc.

If she's anything like my girls when we go away, it feels as though the more you give them, the worse they get sometimes. It's as if they think, "I've had loads of fun stuff, what have I got to lose?"

Be open and honest with her - I would do the same with my 4 yo. Explain that this holiday isn't just about her and what she wants or doesn't want to do, it's for everyone in your family.

At the start of each day, outline what you will do that she will enjoy/look forward to and then pencil in some other bits, so she will know to expect them. Almost draw them out like a mini visual itinerary. Stay firm with boundaries and expectations, as you would at home.

Although bedtimes could be a little more flexible, I disagree with the PP who says just let her stay up until she drops. She'll likely still wake at the same time in the morning and the crazy over tiredness cycle continues.

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User48751490 · 02/08/2022 19:32

We had downtime in the apartment with the 4yo and 6yo this year - tablet time, watch TV etc. Especially in the heat. Went out all morning though.

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Dalaidramailama · 02/08/2022 19:33

Oh Christ we never would have took them abroad at that age but each to their own. Waited until my youngest was 7 until we ventured abroad.

Reason being they absolutely loved cheap caravan holidays and British beach days when they were little so we made the most of that whilst we could.

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onmywayamarillo · 02/08/2022 19:33

Mine are a lot older now , worst holiday I ever had is when the youngest was 4

Awful awful awful

Turned out that he somehow thought this was out new home, and we'd live there forever! 🤣

I showed him photos of home and told him we'd be back soon only a few more days, he totally chilled after that 🤷🏼‍♀️

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UWhatNow · 02/08/2022 19:34

She’s 4 and out of her everyday routine and experiencing more ‘treats’ than normal. So she will be testing the boundaries constantly and behaving a bit bratty and spoilt. That’s normal.

Instead of ‘disciplining’ her after she’s misbehaved, you need to be endlessly explaining to her what is going to happen and how she is expected to behave in every given scenario. You need to be calm and straight. ‘Ok, we are just going to go and get changed, I need you to be a good girl and hold mummy’s hand and walk sensibly’. ‘I know you’re tired, but you need to listen to mummy and daddy because this is important as we are also tired and need to get lunch. And maybe a yummy ice cream after eh?’ etc etc. Then praise and distract every time she starts to look like she might get whiny or miserable. ‘Oh what fun things might we do tomorrow?’ ‘You looked like you were having fun splashing about? Did you enjoy it?’ ‘You have been such a good girl wearing your sun hat.’ Etc etc.

This is what pre-school do and why she behaves there. They over explain and emphasise what is expected so that children can easily know and follow without getting over-emotional and then ‘naughty’.

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NuffSaidSam · 02/08/2022 19:35

It sounds like she's just massively over excited. She's presumably just been on a plane for the first time, there's the sun, a time difference, a new house, plenty of ice cream and swimming, she's got mummy and daddy with her all day, every day. It's an awful lot to deal with.

I'd try and calm things down a bit. Tomorrow, hang around in the villa and watch a bit of TV, play with her toys, maybe have a walk to a local playground (a simple one like at home). No ice creams, no holiday stuff. Just really bring it all down. If possible do this one at a time so the other one can get a swim/time out/bit of peace and quiet.

Don't argue about food. Serve, if she doesn't want it, that's fine. Try not to argue about bed unless it's absolutely necessary. Maybe you need to watch a movie and cuddle up in bed for a bit (even if you don't normally remember this is a new bed in a new place, she may need a bit of extra comfort/calm down time).

As hard as it is remember that her behaviour is telling you something. She's not enjoying spending loads of time screaming anymore than you are. It's not a choice on her part.

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ivykaty44 · 02/08/2022 19:35

Epic (and I mean epic) meltdown today because I wouldn’t buy her a lollipop because her behaviour had been terrible. I said no and explained why & stuck to my guns. I do try to be strict and have some discipline but just feel like a failure.

can you turn this round and buy the lolly but it’s for later if she is well behaved?

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IbizaToTheNorfolkBroads · 02/08/2022 19:35

Holidays with children, same shit different location

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