Parenting

Our desperately needed summer getaway

Anchel shares how a week on the west coast was exactly what her family needed.

Syona (far right) with her cousins in Vancouver.

A couple of weeks ago, Dilip and I decided to roll the dice and (not what you think, wait for it…) take Syona on a five-hour flight. And it wasn’t a disaster — hurray!

We were long overdue for a trip to Vancouver to visit Dilip’s brother, his wife and Syona’s two adorable cousins — 2½-year-old Divya and and eight-month-old Keshav.

The last time we were out west as a couple our vacation included long hikes, lots of amazing (read: non-kid friendly) restaurants and a getaway to the Okanagan Valley. This time, our goal was not to lose any of the children (three kids under three — it’s a challenge) and try and get out to do something at least once a day. We spent a lot of time at the beach, had amazing weather and came back tanned (who gets tanned in Vancouver?).

We were also fortunate enough to spend a day at the Vancouver Aquarium. I would highly recommend a visit, regardless of your child’s abilities. For us, it’s important to expose Syona to as many sensory experiences as possible to help her brain develop. The aquarium definitely offers some amazing and unique experiences for kids of all abilities. They have touch pools filled with water, plants and various invertebrates that kids can actually explore with their hands. Syona got to hold a water snail, and I think it was the coolest thing she’s ever touched in her life! They even have a photographic preview to prepare kids with autism for their visit. Everyone we met there was super-accommodating and passionate about what they do. If you have any questions you can always contact them directly to discuss your visit.

This was also the first time Syona spent an extended period of time around other kids. Once she got used to Divya and Keshav, it was absolutely incredible to watch them interact. We’re planning to start a nursery school program later this fall with Syona and this trip confirmed that it is the right time to get her around other kids.

This trip was a desperately needed break from our routine. Lately the days seem jam-packed between appointments, therapies, basic errands and the stuff we actually want to do. And we’re tired. While we were away, we did as much of Syona’s physiotherapy routine as possible, but our main focus was enjoying our time with family and taking a break.

I think this time away benefited our family in so many ways. We got a chance to get out of our standard routine and give Syona so many amazing experiences and a chance to spend some quality time with her cousins.

Do you take regular summer vacations? How do you think they benefit your family?