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Ask Sarah: How to Make the Most of Family Vacations

Parenting expert Sarah Rosensweet shares tips for keeping kids regulated during family vacations, which are really just family relocations

Ask Sarah: How to Make the Most of Family Vacations

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Struggling with tantrums, bedtime boundaries, or simply wondering how to raise happy, confident kids? Sarah Rosensweet offers peaceful parenting advice to help families find balance.

Have a question for Sarah? Send us an email at editors@todaysparent.com.

Q: What is the best way to keep kids regulated during family travel or family vacations? This often means late nights, lack of routine and over-scheduling compared to what they are used to.

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A: Ah, a vacation with kids. It’s really just a relocation.

Transitions are difficult for kids at the best of times. Travel is just a bunch of transitions over and over again. Even adults get stressed about travel.

Because of everything you mentioned in your question, late nights, lack of routine, and lots of activity, kids will for sure be more dysregulated than usual.

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When parents ask me about best practices for travelling with kids, I always suggest that we try to be preventive to keep them regulated. For example, try to keep the same bedtime. Prevent overwhelm and opt to do one fun thing a day instead of packing your schedule. Be sure to provide lots of unstructured downtime.

If this is not possible or you are prepared to throw caution to the wind, here’s what I’d suggest:

If you know that your kids are going to be a bit of a wreck, the best thing to do is prepare yourself mentally. You won’t be able to prevent dysregulation, but you can set yourself up in the best way to deal with it.

Focus on staying calm. If our child is dysregulated, our own lack of calm will only escalate the situation.

To stay calm, use our peaceful parenting ‘pause’ button: Stop, Drop and Breathe.

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When your child is starting to lose it, stop what you are doing, drop your agenda (just for a minute to get yourself calm) and breathe. Breathing is a signal to our brains and bodies that there is no emergency. If you need more help with this, I have a free course, “How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids”.

Try to empathize with your child and welcome the big feelings. If you’re in public, try to take a break and find a quiet spot for some privacy.

To stay more patient and compassionate, give yourself a mindset adjustment. Remind yourself that your kids are doing the best they can. They are not giving you a hard time; they are having a hard time.

Good luck and happy travels!

Need support with other parenting challenges? Our Ask Sarah series covers topics like setting boundaries and treating kids as equals, how to reduce bedtime struggles and how to prepare for playdates.

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Author:

Sarah Rosensweet is a certified peaceful parenting coach, speaker, and educator. She lives in Toronto with her husband and her 15 and 18-year-old kids. Her 22-year-old son has launched.

Peaceful parenting is a non-punitive, connection-based approach that uses firm limits with lots of empathy. Sarah works one-on-one virtually with parents all over the world to help them go from frustrated and overwhelmed to “we’ve got this!”

Sarah offers a free course, How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids, so that you can be the parent you want to be. Read more at: www.sarahrosensweet.com  or listen to her top-rated parenting podcast, The Peaceful Parenting Podcast, wherever you get your podcasts!

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