Family rules for beach vacations
This week while on our annual beach vacation I spent some time thinking about what makes our beach time so memorable for our family. What are the bones of our vacations throughout the years that have made us love being together time and time again? So I came up with a few “RULES”.
- Mom and Dad get in the pool, and play. I use to love to swim and would stay in the pool for hours until my fingers and toes were prune-y. As I got older, I swam less and less. Once my kids were old enough to swim safely on their own, I seldom entered the pool. Except while on vacation, MOM GETS IN THE POOL! This became a rule while on vacations and they kids looked forward to this time. My son especially enjoyed seeing me get splashed with his cannon balls. It’s his version of fun.
- The parent works very little. Maybe he/she can limit work time to when the kids are sleeping. Discuss this on the long drive to your destination and come up with a plan. Don’t wait until that phone call comes and one of you is forced to juggle it all on the spot. Plan to succeed in this area, it’s important.
- Kids need to rest during the day. Let them chill out. This may mean naps for them, reading time, time on the couch watching a show or on their devices. Everyone chills differently so, let those older kids do their thing for a short time. Kids are more active and get tired by the end of the week, make sure you allow for down time. Don’t cram more stuff.
- The cook can veto eating in or eating out. If you are the cook in the family, try to plan ahead and spend little time in the kitchen. Check out my simple beach menus here for more information. The cook knows what they will be cooking/having for the week, so let them have the veto option when it comes to food.
- Rainy Days are for games. Make this a rule that when it rains while on vacation, it’s time to play card games or board games. It’s a day to stay in your PJ’s and watch a movie or sleep. Order Pizza and have fun. For older kids, plan an outing. For example my daughter and I would visit the local antique shop or thrift store on rainy days.
- Limit screen time, but don’t stop there. Limit anything that takes kids away from hanging out with the family. Even books can be a distraction from enjoying a beach vacation.
- Divide and conquer the grocery list. Everyone has to run to the store for food while on vacation. If one of the parents can’t stay with the kids on the sand, while the other parent shops alone, then divide and conquer. One wrangles the kids and the other fills the cart, or divide the list and the kids in two separate carts.
- Require one must do activity. An activity where everyone participates. When you are planning your vacation, plan a family activity. We plan one per day. A bike ride, frisbee on the beach, building a sand castle, body surfing, everyone on a float/boat/rings, fishing, Marco Polo in the pool, seashell hunting, walks on the beach, getting ice cream or my favorite, watching the sunset together. The older they get the harder it is to corral everyone for these activities, so start early and set it up ahead of time. Share your thoughts about doing family things. If you miss a day, it’s ok, just pick it back up the next day.
- Make eye contact daily. Are you sharing smiles and watching faces? Make eye contact with your kids daily and see the fun in their eyes. Share the experience and see it in their faces. Hug and kiss faces often too(no age requirement).
You can add or take away from these rules to suit your family. You may not struggle with working while on vacation or your child may not be a voracious reader but the main theme here is fun with the family.
I once saw a mom spend most of her vacation time talking with other people on the beach. Instead of hanging out with her family, she was sharing her life with total strangers. I overheard her complain about her kid’s screen time and devices, yet she was taking something away from her family on this vacation. Something that only she can give to them…time with mom. Remember why you are taking this vacation. Be intentional and vacation with a purpose.