There wasn’t a water slide in sight.
Or a playground.
Or even a park.
My kids were asked to use their “inside” voices even when outside – so not to disturb the other patrons trying to relax around the pool.
Their great-grandfather’s house, with it’s shiny tiles and concrete outdoor area was not set up for children.
The long lunches, favoured by the Spanish, were not favoured by my children and clashed with Leo’s nap-time.
The excitement of receiving a welcome gift of red fruit (think strawberries, rasberries, watermelon and papaya) at the fancy hotel in Madrid was quickly dimmed when they slipped out of our grasp onto the giant bed, fitted with a gorgeous but now, no longer white bedspread.
The Spanish restaurants don’t even open for dinner until 8:30pm…..
So as you can see we really set ourselves up with quite the challenge to get these kids on board.
And how were they?
They could have made our holiday quite miserable if they didn’t adapt but the little wonders just fit right in with everything (to an extent…we couldn’t forget the phones and iPads at the long lunches!!).
It was so gorgeous to see the kids getting to know their 86 year old Great Grandfather and my husband and I are so grateful that my Mother-in-law moved mountains to make this all happen for us all.
So the tips for survival on a holiday like this one…..
If you can afford business class then do it. The extra cash would be great to shop with but expect to be stuck in your hotel room for days recovering if your kids can’t get a sleep on the flight. Plus imagine how you would entertain them if they weren’t sleeping and seriously grumpy in that confined aeroplane space! Our trip took 26 hours from door to door and so I was so grateful that they got to lie down and get a decent stretch of sleep (and me too!).
Let the kids choose their adventure on some days. Limited shopping time was making me jittery (how was I going to have time to buy everything!) but one of the best days was visiting a castle in Segovia and choosing a touristy little place for a quick (but surprisingly one of the best) lunch. Then we watched while they did crazy dances and ran up and down in the open space of the Plaza.
Watch their diet. Buffet breakfasts, huge lunches and late dinners are hard enough on their little digestive systems so I made sure that they had a fruit plate first at breaky, made two vegetable juices a day while we were at their Great Grandfather’s house and ensured they had enough water while wandering around in the heat. All the disruption to their routine, sleep and diet is enough to send anybody crazy and you don’t want to drag emotional kids around with you so try and limit the sugar and ensure they are still getting enough nutrients so that you can relax when they get treats.
Forget limiting their electronic consumption. While out and about they are learning, being stimulated and interacting with different people. When in the hotel room they can either bounce around – looking for things to do….one time I found my two kids both in the cot surrounded by a mountain of nappy bags that they had been busy pulling out….or you can give in and let them play some games on your phone if that’s what makes them happy.
Relax and Enjoy. Kids are kids. People know that. Most people have had some of their own…so if your kids are too loud, have a meltdown (in the executive lounge while people sip champagne) or throw food on the floor – get over it. There is no point in stressing about things out of your control. You can’t keep them locked up in the room all the time so it’s going to happen.
We just had such an awesome time and the kids got to have so many amazing experiences and meet so many relatives and friends that it was worth all the stress and hard work 🙂
Time to plan the next holiday!