Holidays are exciting, fun and highly anticipated. Holidays are also tiring, stressful and inevitable. They can be equally exhilarating and exhausting, especially so for families with young children. Managing a happy vacation with kids is a real challenge. So, here are a few tips to pass this test with flying colors.

1. Plan Well Ahead

Parents need to chalk out a game plan for the entire duration of the holidays well in advance. When, where, and how many days of travel should be decided beforehand and communicated clearly to the younger members of the household. Everyone being on the same page helps reduce uncertainty and anxiety. As we all have experienced, kids thrive best in a structured environment. If they know what to expect, they are better prepared and also respond better.

2. Travel Management

Prepare well according to your planned mode/s of travel. Make sure you follow tips to avoid motion-sickness, but even so, be prepared for any eventualities such as puking. Pack basic first-aid, a stash of healthy snacks, sweets or peppermint lozenges, entertainment material such as cards, board games, favorite music, etc. and season-appropriate clothing. If you are on the road, take frequent breaks to avoid monotony. Point out interesting scenery along the way and be sure to stop and watch the sunset wherever you are.

3. Religious Activities

If the holidays involve festivals and worship, parents need to explain to the child well in advance about rituals and traditions. If a certain decorum and etiquette are expected, try to prepare the child gently. However, wriggly, active children cannot be expected to sit through prayers and sermons and that should be okay. Try and take them out when they’re being particularly noisy.

4. Relatives and Extended Family

If you plan to have people over the home or are going visiting, use this opportunity to create bonds between your children and the extended family. Have them spend quality time with grandparents, other elders, and cousins. Healthy relationships are beneficial for growing children and aid in overall emotional development.

5. At Home

Involve the kids in festival chores like Diwali cleaning or making some of the sweets. Use the holiday times to enroll them in their favorite sports camps, hobby classes or creative workshops. Keeping them busy with something they enjoy makes them happy.

6. Set Expectations and Limits

A holiday might be a break from school and studies, but it does not mean a complete departure from daily good habits. Make it clear that they still have to follow the basics like brushing, bathing and eating on time. Set limits to total screen time and junk food indulgences. Make sure they are eating healthy and getting their daily dose of play and sunshine.

Get involved with the kids and put away your work and your gadgets. Remember to have a great time with your kids this holiday season!