One month vacation? There are certainly cons to having a husband in college, but having long vacations are not one of them! Since my family is in another galaxy named Northwest Florida, we decided to take a month to visit. After traveling 24 hours and factoring in at least a few days for jet lag, we knew anything less than a month would feel too rushed.
Things I learned on a one month vacation:
1) Kids adjust better than you might think. Everyone kept telling me I was brave to bring two small children so far from home, but they weren’t giving them enough credit. Both my babies behaved just as well on vacation as at home, and my toddler was the happiest I’d ever seen her.
2) Don’t be surprised if development jumps leaps and bounds. After only a few days my toddler started saying a lot more words and began obeying fairly complicated instructions (for a 16 month old). New environments and new people bring out the sense of adventure and excitement in children. My boss said her daughter started walking and talking on family vacations.
3) Simple things like keeping consistent naptimes, mealtimes, and bedtimes goes a long way towards keeping their moods regulated. It’s not home and you won’t get far trying to simulate everything, but keeping fairly consistent schedules will help them fall into a home away from home routine. Children are happier when rested so avoid the tendency to skip naptimes too often.
4) They’ll be clingy until they’re comfortable. One of my worst fears as a mother living far from her home is that my children will not “hit it off” with my family. For the first few hours (notice hours and not even days) my daughter was shy and reserved. After she became comfortable in her new surroundings she was free to be herself. Around the second week she started to notice the lack of one-on-one mommy time she was used to and became more clingy. Although I couldn’t give her as much time as normal – we were visiting all my long-lost loved ones and friends – I made sure to be the one to do story time and comfort her for her naps and before bed.
5) Some things you have to let go and know that you’ll get back to normal when you return home. In our home every morning she has independent playtime. This is where she goes into her room and plays by herself and is not allowed to leave until I say so (generally around 30 minutes). We didn’t have anywhere childproofed to put her in my home away from home so we let it go. Now that we are back home it has been an adjustment for her to go back to it, but she is getting there. We also gave her much more candy and sweet stuff than we ever do at home. I am not an advocate of feeding my child junk food but when there are holidays after gatherings after get togethers complete with fun food, I’m also not going to tell her no 235 times that I can eat it but she can’t. She’s on vacation too. Since returning home we are back to our normal eating and she hasn’t missed a beat. Nor did she gain 5 lbs or break out. I think we’re good.
PS – Click here to read more articles from the What I Learned series!