Threads

See more results

Topics

Usernames

Mumsnet Logo
Please
or
to access all these features

On holiday with 4yo and it’s awful - is this normal??
278

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.

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

lOPAS · 02/08/2022 20:10

I thunk that the expectation that a holiday will be perfect, and the break you worked hard for makes a kids behavior even harder to swallow!!

Don't come home.

Please
or
to access all these features

BarbaraPickle · 02/08/2022 20:11

Wait till that same child is a hormonal teen & having an epic tantrum on holiday.... When ours was 13 I thought I'd never go on holiday ever again.. 😂

Please
or
to access all these features

SunflowerGardens · 02/08/2022 20:11

Try to relax, give her plenty of rest, don't worry about indulging her - she's on holiday too. Nows now the time for reinforcing boundaries and making sure she's well behaved, give her some leeway.

Please
or
to access all these features

Throwawaytoday · 02/08/2022 20:12

We say similar @IbizaToTheNorfolkBroads - holidays are just parenting your kid (at their worst) somewhere really inconvenient.

Please
or
to access all these features

GeorgeCat1 · 02/08/2022 20:12

A holiday with a small child is a holiday in name only.

Please
or
to access all these features

Flockameanie · 02/08/2022 20:12

Like a PP we realised that DS thought we had moved to a new place when we went on holiday. When we explained super clearly what a ‘holiday’ meant he chilled out a bit.

holidays are overwhelming for them at that age - everything is unexpected and their familiar places and routines are gone.

The visual map of the day. Giving her some simple choices (beach or pool, for eg). Relaxing about food. All that will help her feel more in control.

It wasn’t until our youngest was 6 that we had a properly relaxing holiday. Old enough to be happy in the pool on his own (with us there obvs) for hours on end, basically.

Please
or
to access all these features

IsabelaYourBoyfriendsHere · 02/08/2022 20:13

Ah I feel for you OP, we had similar with our 4 year old when we went on holiday last summer. I don't remember too much (thankfully I mostly just remember the lovely parts now!) but like you said if we weren't doing something really fun or eating treat food then she'd have a tantrum, which was not usually in her nature at all.

I think it must have been a mix of being overtired, having too many activities on during the days, and, if I'm honest, being a bit spoilt while we were away (ice creams, sweets, etc.)
I think 4 is just a bit of a tricky age, I don't remember her toddler sister acting up at all.

If it helps she's 5 now, we went away a couple of months ago and it was absolutely lovely!

Please
or
to access all these features

Summerfun54321 · 02/08/2022 20:15

Throwawaytoday · 02/08/2022 20:12

We say similar @IbizaToTheNorfolkBroads - holidays are just parenting your kid (at their worst) somewhere really inconvenient.

So true!!

Please
or
to access all these features

Wasywasydoodah · 02/08/2022 20:15

Normal. Go to wales next year. That’s what we do :) The kids can be equally challenging but at least we didn’t pay as much. 😂

Please
or
to access all these features

cansu · 02/08/2022 20:19

I am guessing she can feel the difference in your expectations. Try not to show how big a deal this is and stay calm and bored by her behaviour. Don't want your toast - OK never mind.

Please
or
to access all these features

balalake · 02/08/2022 20:20

Well done for sticking to your guns over the lollipop. I wish other parents took the same view.

Please
or
to access all these features

Spiider · 02/08/2022 20:20

We went on holiday with my son and end of last year and I feel you it’s hard. Routine I think is so important at that age and I feel they are learning to push boundaries. Maybe like some people have said have a to time table of what you are doing. I’d also have low expectations. My son (about to turn 4) would struggle in a restaurant so some kind of buffet or relaxed environment would be more successful. Also make sure she’s not over tired. On holiday everything is new and exciting. They need their sleep I’ve found.

Please
or
to access all these features

A580Hojas · 02/08/2022 20:23

GeorgeCat1 · 02/08/2022 20:12

A holiday with a small child is a holiday in name only.

I don't actually agree with this, sorry.

We have always gone on a 2 week "holiday" with our two dc - from when the first one was only 18 months old.

The key to it all is to have low expectations! honestly Grin. For myself I felt it was more important to get out to another environment, even if for only 2 weeks a year, and do something DIFFERENT other than the same old same old with literally no break.

We were prepared for our very young dc to find it all a bit odd and strange but we went away for us, even though it involved the same food/sleep/play/nappy routines as at home and it was a bit harder because we didn't have all our home comforts. We had to take DVDs and a laptop to play them on in those days - no internet to entertain them.

So we chose temperate climates, not camping in tents (did plenty of Eurocamp caravan holidays), no hotels, no expectations of "relaxing" or reading books by the pool etc.

We still all look back on those holidays with immense fondness.

Just this year we were in Normandy with our 21 and 18 year olds and DH and I made a special detour to go and look at the beach and campsite we went to when they were 10 months and 3.5. Make the most of it.

Please
or
to access all these features

OhTheLeetleHandsAndFeetle · 02/08/2022 20:24

Wasywasydoodah · 02/08/2022 20:15

Normal. Go to wales next year. That’s what we do :) The kids can be equally challenging but at least we didn’t pay as much. 😂

Agree! We did all UK holidays initially - no major journeys/time shifts/weather differences. If food in restaurants was considered unbearable by a child there was familiar stuff we could give them from familiar shops. Easy to get home if anyone fell ill. Did all the buckets and spades/donkey rides/places of interest stuff with plenty of getting wet and going to parks. Low expectations perhaps, but much easier than going somewhere completely different. Exciting destinations will still be there in a few years time.

I feel for you, OP. It’s hard work.

Please
or
to access all these features

Threeboysandadog · 02/08/2022 20:24

I’ve just been watching a video of my very chilled out, well behaved, just turned 16 year old on a caravan holiday aged approximately four. I had just cut his toast in rectangles instead of triangles and he had an epic meltdown. I videoed it as no one ever believed he could misbehave. I found four a very difficult age with all of mine. Do whatever you have to do to get through it and hopefully things will be better once you are home.

Please
or
to access all these features

maranella · 02/08/2022 20:25

OP I guarantee every parent who's taken their DC on holiday has had either a shit one or at least some shit days. Kids on holiday can be really challenging for all the reasons already stated. Kids like routine - it makes them feel safe. Adults, OTOH, sometimes like to be spontaneous, mix things up, have fun, particularly on holiday. This is your first holiday with a DC - I know it's shit - I remember our first holiday as parents and I remember being in tears too, because the word 'holiday' conjures up something magical in your mind that is very hard to achieve when DC come along, but as a starting point it helps if you set your expectations fairly low!

My advice? First, take a deep breath; second, stop googling coming home early; and third, just keep it simple. Breakfast like you'd have at home (as much as possible), and one thing per day. Don't try and fit in too much. My kids are much older, but we still just do one thing per day, usually in the morning, and then we have afternoons for screen time, naps, swim, whatever we feel like, but something relaxing.

Please
or
to access all these features

longcoffeebreak · 02/08/2022 20:26

kids club so you get a holiday too

Please
or
to access all these features

AliceW89 · 02/08/2022 20:26

Poor you OP. We recently got back from a kid friendly AI in Majorca that we flew to from our local city airport with our 2 year old. Despite going for the easiest holiday we could find, it was still really hard work! Thankfully, my expectations were set so low (mostly due to MN 😂) that it just about exceeded them. We stuck religiously to routine including food choices and naps (which were longer and often earlier due to the heat), had 2 lots of TV time a day for an indoor sit down and didn’t expect to achieve anything.

Having said that, I mostly think it’s your DC’s age. SIL just got back from France with her 3. The 5 year old was the most out of kilter by a long stretch, far more so than the baby. I’m sure (/hoping!!) it’ll be different in years to come.

Hope you find some enjoyment in the rest of your trip x

Please
or
to access all these features

StubbleTurnips · 02/08/2022 20:26

Kids are dicks at home and abroad on holiday.

Its nothing anyone is doing wrong, just sometimes they are dicks. I’m sorry it’s ruining you’re long awaited holiday, unmumsnetty hugs.

Please
or
to access all these features

Mamajunebugjones · 02/08/2022 20:26

Just returned from holiday with our 4 year old. Afternoon nap in a pram (if we wanted to go out) or in our room. Nothing more strenuous than the beach or pool for her. Mainly ate fruit, pancakes, simple meals or just chips if out in a restaurant (as long as she ate something). One ice cream a day. But she did have lots of other distractions, with older siblings and other family. She really enjoyed it.

Please
or
to access all these features

CoffeeDay · 02/08/2022 20:26

So so so normal. We've always managed a reasonable enjoyable summer holiday every year. Somewhat stressful, lots of packing and planning required but it still felt like a holiday looking back. However since she stopped napping around 3, our first short break at 3.5 was an absolute fucking nightmare. It wasn't even overseas and we took care to keep it fun but not overwhelming with self catering, familiar food and lots of space. It was exactly how you described it, aside from the obviously fun bits, it was impossible to get her to do anything without a fight. We had another proper holiday booked this year and cancelled it immediately after coming home because I was genuinely worried I might snap and end up with a mental breakdown or run away or something.

Please
or
to access all these features

Dalaidramailama · 02/08/2022 20:27

@Threeboysandadog

My mum has a video of me at age 15 in Malta having an epic teenage meltdown because my hair was so knotty from the pool. Of course this was her fault for dragging me away from my friends.

I mean let’s be honest holidays are better without kids.

Please
or
to access all these features

homarr · 02/08/2022 20:29

Unfortunately I think it's normal 😩.

We took out Daughter on holiday when she was 2 and again when she was 3.

It was so stressful. My previous holidays had been spent sunbathing, drinking, going out for nice meals, walks & shopping.

My Daughter didn't let us eat in any restaurants. She would kick off within about 10 minutes. She wouldn't sit in the pram so we couldn't go for walks & she threw tantrums if I tried to go shopping. Obviously couldn't sunbathe. The whole holiday was about her in the end. If we played with her in the sea, beach, swimming pool then she was happy but we couldn't do much else.

We took it in turns to sunbathe for an hour each and go off and do our own thing where we could.

Eldest is 5 now and while more independent, I still don't think she would let me sit down or sunbathe.

Please
or
to access all these features

Bitterbean · 02/08/2022 20:31

All our family holidays have been awful. Kids are now 6 (twins) and 9 and holidays are getting better but still hard work. We bought gadgets this time and they have watched more than we planned. I wouldn't get your hopes up. People who come back from holidays and tell you they had a lovely time are mostly putting a positive spin imo.

Please
or
to access all these features

scissorsandsellotape · 02/08/2022 20:33

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’.

This

Please
or
to access all these features
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?