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 Travel & Leisure

May 2011
Holidaying with Kids
Anju Poddar
A holiday with kids is an exciting event and a time to unwind and bond, taking a step away from our busy everyday schedules. In order to make it stress free and as productive a trip as possible, it’s best to do your research well and plan in as much detail to avoid last minute mishaps.

Factors that influence organising a trip are determined by the age of the children. The three age groups I am going to discuss are:Babies and toddlers, 5 to 12 year olds and teenagers.

Babies and Toddlers
Hotels and resorts, which are very relaxed, with a kids’ pool and lots of running around space, are ideal, because that is all what these little ones need. They need to have restaurants that are okay with having kids run around and won't mind an occasional screaming baby! It is also good to check with the hotel on how flexible they are with making baby-friendly food and whatever it is that your little one likes to eat. However, before departing on your trip, it is best to get your baby accustomed to some international cuisines so you don't have to be stuck in your room with a hungry toddler or spend your entire holiday in the same Indian Restaurant. Many places also provide an activity room for kids, a creche facility and safe babysitting facilities allowing parents some good time- so discuss this with your selected hotel. Beach destinations are a great option - but historical trips are best left till the kids are a little older and can appreciate the destination. Some good holiday destinations with babies and toddlers are Goa, Thailand, Hong Kong Disneyland, Macau and Singapore. Avoid visiting too many destinations as that would involve frequently changing hotels, very long flights, too many long car journeys.

5 - 12 Year Olds
Kids at this age are ready for anything - so be innovative. Take them to historical destinations that they are learning about in school- whether it is the TajMahal in Agra or the Pyramids in Egypt. Take them snorkelling in the sea, fishing in the rIver, skiing in Switzerland or on a wildlife safari in Africa. They will be willing to explore and learn from anything you throw them in and these memories will be with them for the entire lifetime.

Teenagers are very specific with what they like, where they want to go and with whom they would like to go. So it's best to involve them in planning your holiday – in fact put them in charge of planning the trip with your guidance and help. This will make them responsible and excited about the trip.
A cruise is also a great holiday option, which suits all age groups and has something for everyone. It also allows you to visit many destinations without having to change your room!

Quick Tips to manage young kids on Holidays
  • Always carry biscuits, popcorn, chips etc. – you never know when they will feel hungry or when you will get the next vegetarian meal. It is also a good way to keep them busy when waiting in a queue. Chocolates in the purse also help keeping them quiet when they are tired and cranky.
  • Carry lots of extra clothes because you don’t want to wash; and children's clothes get dirty very fast. It is a good idea to carry extra clothes for kids on sightseeing trips too, just in case you have to go for a dinner from an amusement park. Many parks also have water rides where children might wet themselves. So it’s always good to have spare clothes handy.
  • Give the following information to your kids: the name and number of the hotel as well as your numbers; and ask them to keep this information safely written on a piece of paper, which they should carry in their pockets or bags. It is a precaution, in case the child gets lost,s/he can ask a policeman to call you up.
  • Share the responsibilities between spouses. Mum can get the child ready and feed breakfast. Dad can take over till the evening.  Mum can feed dinner, change diapers, etc. and put them to bed. The roles can be reversed so as to get closer to the child.
  • Don’t worry too much about food. Kids will eat when they are hungry, so whenever they are hungry feed them something and it can even be ice cream. Don’t be fussy about what they eat, if you want to enjoy your vacation. Let them eat what they want and when they want to. It is only for a few days and it won’t harm them
  • Carry their medicine kits. Kids tend to fall sick at any time and it is better to have your own kit.
  • Remember that the less you will fuss over your kids, the less fussy they will be. It is their holiday too, so just let them be on their own.
Dr. Anju Poddar is a successful home maker fascinated by Hindu Traditionns and Festivals.She has authore four Well received books ,the latest being Meals,Menus & More

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