The Case for One Child, One Parent Mini-Vacations

When was the last time you had a stress-free chunk of one-on-one time?

Posted Oct 31, 2018

We all know this simple truth: Vacations are beneficial in all sorts of ways. Research suggests, actually, that vacations are good for your health and may even prolong your life (Strandberg, Räikkönen, Salomaa, et al., 2018). In terms of family functioning, vacations can have significant positive effects unless the nature or situational dynamics on the vacation end up adding stress and frustration. Merely planning a vacation doesn't mean, of course, that it will go well. Many times, families — siblings, in particular — argue if forced to spend a lot of concentrated time together. One possible type of vacation that you may not have tried yet brings another type of family vacation experience: one parent taking only one child on a mini vacation (which could be as short as a night away at a nearby vacation spot).

Because children and teens, especially, are more glued to their electronic devices than ever, going away for a mini vacation is a healthy, much-needed activity. On a mini vacation, your child engages in activities they probably wouldn't be engaging in if they were at home. Kids on mini vacations - with accommodations at a campground, hotel or resort — take in the scenery of a new location and tend to spend more time outdoors. They may find themselves walking more, swimming, or engaging in other physical activities on the mini vacation than they would if they were at home.

One of the biggest benefits of taking a mini vacation with your kids on an individual basis (taking turns, of course, so no one is left out) is your child's perception that you want to spend more quality time with them. Sometimes they may not want to go or they may feel annoyed at the suggestion, but the gesture of asking them to go away with you reminds them that you value them, want to be with them, and not only love them - but like them, too.

On your mini vacation with your child, let your child make some of the decisions you might ordinarily make (e.g., deciding where to eat or which leisure activity to pursue.) This may sound obvious but, as a parent myself, I sometimes have to remind myself to ask my child what he or she wants to do. They feel special and noticed when you give them choices. For example, you can say, "We will have a little downtime Saturday afternoon. If you were to pick an activity we could do, what would it be?" Throw out some possibilities that they may like. If the activity you engage in with your child is not one that your child knows you wouldn't choose on your own, your child will sense even more deeply that you are focusing on and prioritizing their feelings. The more your child feels that you care and prioritize them, the better the quality of the relationship will be. You've heard the expression, "Happy wife, happy life?" It doesn't have the same ring to it, but the real truth is this: "Happy child, happy life."

References

European Society of Cardiology. (2018, August 28). Take a vacation -- it could prolong your life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180828085917.htm

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