Parenting: Spring Break Survival Guide
1. With little ones, Sleep is the key. Whether you are staying home or heading to Disneyland, commit to keeping sleep schedules reasonable. Be at the park from 9am – 6pm. Have dinner, and get the kids back to the hotel and into bed. When kids have sleep, we have sanity. One late night is not a huge deal. Multiple ones in a row can throw them off and leave us picking up the pieces of tantrums, whining, you name it!
2. Some of the biggest fights on holiday are about getting out of the pool. This won’t change unless you do. Plan your expectations and response/consequences right away.
“I’ll give you a 2 minute warning. When I say let’s get out of the pool, you say, “OK” and climb out right away. That way, you show me we’ll be back in the pool tomorrow. When you whine, or complain, you are showing me it is too hard for you to get out of the pool so we will skip the pool tomorrow and try again the day after.”
Don’t say this unless you can do it. That way, the kids learn that you mean what you say the first time.
If they fight about getting out of the pool, get them out and later tell them, “You’ve shown me that you need a day off from the pool, we’ll try again in two days.” That is all you have to say. No yelling, no shaming.
3. Screen Time: Decide what is acceptable in your home and then make it known. Plan with your kids when they will be on technology and when they are off limits. Then stick to the plan. If you don’t, they learn to ignore you.
4. Older kids: Let them know expectations ahead of time and give them input where possible:
Sleep deadlines (can they sleep until noon?)
When they can be on their own and when they will be with you
Who is paying for what
When they need to babysit their sibs
5. It may feel that planning takes the “relaxation” out of Spring Break. In reality, a little bit of planning, discussion and clarity up front can take a lot of the headaches out of the rest of the vacation. Aim for realistic expectations and let your kids know the plan. Be clear with yourself and your kids about how/when you will follow through and have a great break!