In the first year or two of our marriage, my wife and I attended a class on missionary families – “Keeping the family strong on the mission field”. The class was taught by Gary and Danita Jackson. In today’s post, I want to introduce you to some of the notes they left on how to have and plan a good family vacation.
What is a “family vacation”?
Family vacations can serve many different functions:
- Trips to see extended family
- Relaxing, sleeping, refreshing
- Spending quality time
Unfortunately, each of these often work against each other. A trip to see extended family might be good, but may not leave you with a lot of quality time with your spouse or kids. A relaxing, refreshing vacation might not be possible if you take younger kids along. Mom and dad will need to get away for a weekend to get the old fashioned kick back and relax vacation.
So for you to get quality time on your family vacation you must be intentional from the start.
Dads, Be Sure You Read this Section.
As a father of three young kids (four and under) I’m going to speak to dads for a moment.
When you think about family vacation, you probably think about sleeping in, having no responsibilities, and sitting in front of the TV. When we started vacationing as a family I realized the diapers still needed to be changed, kids still woke up at night, and someone still needed to play with the kids. My first vacation was a shock to my system – I had the wrong expectation.
Dads, you need to know that for you to have a good family vacation you will actually need to exert some energy. Your wife needs a break too, so be sure you pull your weight on vacation. Be intentional about getting time with the kids because if you’re usually at work, your kids are probably excited about spending time with daddy.
Plan another weekend away where you can be a lazy bum, but for this vacation, be all hands on deck because the health of your family depends on it.
Seven Principles for a Good Family Vacation
- Take only your immediate family – leave the kids’ friends at home.
- Go somewhere away from the house, telephone, computer, TV, kitchen, neighbors. If you take your cell phone, answer only necessary calls.
- Don’t equate a good family vacation with lots of money. Make time for games, relaxing at the park, swimming, and wrestling.
- If possible, arrange for the family to stay together. Some families are a little to big for hotels. Consider a condo or apartment where you can all be together.
- When your children are older they will enjoy more exotic places. Get your financial house in order so that later you can enjoy some new things together as a family.
- Plan age appropriate activities together every evening. While TV is alright on occasion, don’t spend your evenings watching TV.
- Make nightly devotions part of the routine. If you’re extra ambitious, you could even make a family devotional plan that incorporates the kids.