Aging Expectations

Avoid Kid Meltdown

travelSome people have a bunch of kids all together. You know three kids, each two years apart.

Not me.

I waited 5 1/2 years to have my second and 10 years to have my third. If you’re like me with kids of very varying ages, planning anything that all can do together and are happy doing together is tough. Traveling only amps up the pressure.

The older kids don’t want to ride baby rides. The little ones aren’t interested in museums (well, sometimes the older ones aren’t either).

It turns into a big mess where everyone is unhappy, especially me.

Here are six things to help avoid Kid Meltdown on the vacation of your dreams.


1. Plan the Trip Ahead

When I say plan, I mean every detail. Know what you’re getting into. Know your options. This is going to take some time but it’s so worth it. By doing this, you can pick and choose what to do and what not to do. More importantly, you can set everyone’s expectations.

2. Plan Something for Everyone

While you’re planning, don’t leave anyone out (including the adults). Be sure there is something each person enjoys. If you have a chronic complainer, schedule their  thing first.

3. Let the Kids Help with Planning

Now, I’ve just made it more complicated! Letting kids help is frustrating at times. However, it’s so worth it (and it ensures #2 happens). They see the options and can make the best choices. They understand what is happening and they have a stake in everyone having fun too. It also gives them an appreciation for how much work and money goes into making a great trip happen.

4. Explain It All

Have a family meeting to review all your decisions. Everyone can voice their concerns before the trip. Changes are made ahead of time. Complaining stops before the trip even starts. I’d much rather have the hard discussions at home than in the car as we’re leaving the hotel.

5. Have Alternate Activities for the Down Time

There are going to be times when the bigger kids are on the rides, when the baby gets to play in the kiddie playground. Plan for those times with small activities for your other kids. Stickers, small toys, video games, whatever they like and you approve of.

Suggestion: If they aren’t too small, have the non-active child in charge of picture-taking (you can rotate this responsibility). 

6. Don’t over-schedule

Be sure to work in some relaxation time into your busy trip. Everyone needs a bit of a break. Even if it’s just extra time at the hotel, a quick trip to the pool, an ice cream treat…something that allows everyone to take a breath and appreciate the awesome trip!


Enjoy your vacation, you deserve it!

If you want even more travel tips, check out my book on Amazon!

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