Going on vacation can bring the family together and provide shared experiences which strengthen the family bond. Yet, with energetic children in tow, opportunities for time alone with your partner to relax, reconnect and share intimate moments together can be few and far between. Even parents need some timeout for themselves! The same goes for the kids too – they also need time away from the watchful eyes of mom and dad to just be kids and spend time with other children.
Even a few hours alone over a romantic dinner together is time that you and your partner will really appreciate. So we’ve put together some tips and advice on having a vacation from the children while on vacation:
1. Search for Hotels with Childcare Services
Lots of hotels and resorts offer access to babysitters, day care and kids clubs. Even if you’re only leaving your kids for an hour or two, keep safety in mind. Ask the hotel where they find the sitters, how they interview them and if they run background and reference checks. Do they watch the kids in your room, a childcare facility or other spot in the hotel? Interview the actual babysitter yourself and take a look at the facilities to confirm they are clean and safe.
2. Bring Your Nanny
Already have a regular nanny? Take them along. Ask if they would be willing to come with you on your trip to watch the kids part of the time. Negotiate a salary that works for everyone — maybe a lump sum for the entire holiday. Talk about what is expected: what hours will they work, will they have their own room, what they should do with the kids, etc. Keep in mind that this option can get pricey, as you have to pay for their travel, lodging and food expenses. But in the right situation, it can be a lifesaver!
3. Book a Babysitter on Holiday
If your hotel doesn’t offer a service or you prefer to do the vetting yourself, hire your own temporary sitter for your trip. Use a site like Care.com to search for sitters who live in that area. Post a job in the postal code where you’ll be traveling (use your home address when you sign up and create an account).
Mention in the job title and description that you’re looking for a holiday sitter for your kids and what you want the person to do. If want someone to watch your kids for a few short hours, a babysitter is your best bet. If you want someone to be with your kids for a longer period, take them sightseeing and plan activities, look for a part-time nanny. Make sure you still interview potential sitters (maybe do a Skype video chat) and talk to references before you hire anyone.
4. Invite the Grandparents!
Inviting your parents or those of your partner can turn a trip into a real family vacation. A recent study has revealed that 40 percent of adults are asking their own parents to come on the annual summer get-away in order for the whole family to spend time together. A multigenerational trip can forge bonds far stronger than a simple vacation visit to grandma’s house. Plus, grandparents make great babysitters.
5. Find a Kid-Friendly Cruise
Like hotels, most cruise ships offer childcare or supervised activities for children. With the kids safe and nearby, parents can get some worry-free alone time. Since some cruises have minimum traveling ages, make sure your little ones are old enough to hop aboard.
6. Explore All-Inclusive Options
Family camps have gone beyond cabins of the sort often made fun of on sitcoms. Many theme parks and camps have baby care centers and babysitting services. They also offer lots of options for family fun — including kids-only activities and entertainment.
7. Book a House, Suite, Condo or Adjoining Rooms
Children aged six or over may be old enough for their own room. Booking a suite or house swap can keep the family in the same space, but give the parents a separate room (with a door that locks) and the kids their own space (with a TV to keep them engaged). You’ll be able to watch over your kids, but still enjoy some privacy.
8. Book a Room with a View — and a Veranda
Not all families can afford a resort, however, and not all parents can afford or are comfortable turning over responsibility to strangers. In this case a hotel room with a balcony could be just the thing. A bottle of wine with your spouse on the ‘veranda’ once the kids are asleep can be inexpensive and an easy option for getting at least a little alone time while on holiday.
With these tips, you can have the perfect holiday, complete with ample family time and just enough ‘alone time’ with your partner to remind you both how much you enjoy one another’s company.
Share your experiences of finding alone time on a family holiday with us! Use our comments box below.