The summer holidays are here, a mini heat wave has struck the UK and parents all over the country are looking for inventive ways to make their children’s days off meaningful and memorable. They grow up so fast, and we have a limited time to provide them with comforting, happy childhood memories that will last them a lifetime and get them through life’s difficult moments. And it’s also time to save our own sanity.
But what do we really remember from our treasured family holidays? Why are holidays so important and what steps can we put in place to ensure that our children grow up healthy and content, with fond recollections of their formative years?
I believe this is so key because I never experienced a family holiday when I was younger, we never had the money to do it. That’s right, not even Skegness, but we did make up for it with days out. I really want both of our boys to enjoy as many family holidays as they can, so they can have a taste of what I didn’t.
The Importance of Family Holidays
You might not realise it, but holidays aren’t really a luxury that you can afford to miss out on. Whether you’re jetting off for a two-week holiday in the Caribbean or you’re grabbing a mini-break in the form of a weekend cottage break, holidays are an integral part of family life. Family holidays make up the majority of our happy memories, with 49% of Brits claiming that their happiest ever memory was the result of a family holiday.
When you and your loved ones spend time together, away from the pressures and demands of everyday work and school life (and blogging!), you begin to create what psychologists term ‘crescive bonds‘. These are essentially shared experiences that form memories, encourage honest communication and foster enduring connections. Holidays can encourage a sense of solidarity, and though family holidays may at times be stressful, the potential benefits certainly outweigh these inconveniences.
Experiences Over Materialism
How often do we as parents gift our children gadgets or expensive clothes, believing that they will make them happy? The reality is that, in the long term, possessions don’t add much to our lives and it is experiences, rather than material things, that make us truly happy. When planning your family holiday, this is important to bear in mind.
Consider your early childhood memories. You might not remember what you got for your fifth birthday, for example, but you probably remember your mother or father teaching you to ride a bike that same year. You might not recall exactly what you got for Christmas when you were little, but you more than likely remember decorating the tree with your loved ones and your anticipation on Christmas Eve. If you can’t afford to flash the cash, don’t worry; focus on activities and experiences that everyone will be able to look back on fondly years from now.
Take Your Four-Legged Friends Along
Where you go on holiday, and what you do, are not nearly as important as the company you keep. You want your whole family with you on holiday – and for many of us, this encompasses our pets, too. If your excitement for your vacation is hampered by the thought of having to find a sitter, kennels or a cattery, you’ll be glad to know that times are changing and places are becoming increasingly welcome to pet visitors. There are a number of pet-friendly holiday cottages in the UK, and nothing will make your child happier than knowing their furry friend is coming along for the ride.
Open Your Children’s Eyes To New Experiences
Though in our hearts we know better, we often think of children as fragile and delicate. We always worry about how they will cope with change or whether a shift in their routine will do them damage. What we have forgotten is that children are very resilient. What’s more, they are naturally curious.
As they grow, they are learning more and more about the world around them, and it does them the world of good if we feed this intense curiosity by introducing them to new things, places and ways of behaving. Taking them to different places and shaking up their day-to-day activities is a great way of getting them used to change, which will turn them into flexible, confident and patient adults. On top of this, it will provide exciting, rich, enduring memories.
Give Your Child A Dose Of Excitement
Once you have been sold on the idea of prioritising experience over materialism, you will begin to wonder about what kind of adventures to have. One source claims that children cherish memories that involve a high degree of excitement and activity. Examples of this include rollercoaster rides and water parks. Other moments that prove memorable to children include experiences of increased sensory stimulation, including the feel of warm sand beneath their feet. Moments of fascination are also hard to forget for children, such as the sight of a whale or a trip to the theatre.
Whatever you do this summer, relax and remember to make the most out of every minute, because even though your holiday probably won’t be perfect, they will comprise your children’s happiest memories and they want to remember you with a smile on your face!
*This is a collaborative post.