10 Tips for a Great Family Holiday
Going away in any group is a challenge. It's hard to navigate in large groups, there is the split bills, picking restaurants that everyone can enjoy, travel and transport issues and compromises - a lot of them. However, going away with my family is impossible not just challenging, no matter where it is. It can be a cute cottage nestled in the helderberg mountains, a beach house, an overseas trip or even a trip to our favorite local restaurant - either way it's going to require a lot of effort, maybe even some tears. Despite all this anxiety and the unavoidable mixed emotions that any family vacation will bring you, I actually learn a lot from my family - what to do as well as what not to do. No matter the size of your family, spending time together is essential. Making memories together and getting time to bond over things both big and small are what being a family is about - and you know that no matter what you are loved unconditionally. To help you and them get through a family holiday, here is a list of the hidden lessons that, if you look close enough you will see - no matter how manic your family dynamic is.
1. Avoid Negativity
Negativity can be seen everywhere, it is very catchy and very toxic and should be avoided at all costs. There is nothing worse than going away in a group - be it a family group or not and the atmosphere is horrible and heavy, especially over the festive season. Be positive and try let go of the little things that siblings, cousins or even parents may do to bush your buttons. Don't take yourself your life too seriously. Learn to laugh in situations where you can feel negativity creeping up.
2. Give More
Give more than you take. Being in a family is all about compromise, about giving and most importantly about sharing. Put yourself and your needs aside. Remember we are not entitled to anything and everything we get is a gift, is a chance to show appreciation and a chance to share.
3. Time > Money
Everyone has busy work schedules and personal lives, that are teeming with unanswered emails, skype conferences, meetings and we transfers but spending time with the people you love is priceless and should be treated as such. There are always opportunities to make more money but as humans we have an expire. Sounds dramatic but it's true. Your time together is precious, and you should do all you can to make the most of the time you have together. So, switch off cell phone and disconnect from the virtual world and connect with those who love you most.
4. Forgive Quickly
In any family there is bound to be conflict, difference of opinion, different perspectives and different loves. Just because you share the same DNA doesn't mean you share the same views and ideologies. Wrongs happen, and mistakes are made and yes sometimes those mistakes hurt but it will hurt you and them more to hold them against each other.
5. Wear Sunblock
This may seem obvious but, in a world, where we are given only one body we should learn to look after it properly. Maybe it's the words of my mother ringing in the back of my head that will forever be embed into my brain on the importance of sunscreen. Or maybe itâ€™s having been burnt to crisp, dodging sun stroke that has finally taught how invaluable this lesson really is.
6. Learn to Laugh at Yourself
Laughter is one of life's greatest gifts and learning to laugh at yourself is crucial to a happy life. The ability to not take yourself, or life to seriously holds an inexplicable force of happiness and spending quality time with your family is sure to bring out the ability to laugh at yourself - as most families have a way of poking fun at you in a way that makes you feel accepted and love despite this. This in turn rubs off on us and we start to view ourselves and our lives in a light that makes our complex and often confusing existence decidedly more tolerable. With no more satisfying feeling than laughing until your stomach hurts and sharing that laughter with other is bound to be a lesson you're going to want to hold on too.
7. Kill them with Kindness
People feel put out easily - whether it's the waitress at your local restaurant who is super annoyed that you and your family - a table of 12 - has moved tables three times trying to find the perfect positions; or whether it's the Uber driver who is highly skeptical about squeezing seven people in his car when it can only seat five.
8. Push Through
Life is tough and full of obstacle - your family vacation being one of them. However, despite these obstacles you have to push through. You have to keep going, keep pushing. The best things in life never come easy and you must fight for the things that matter most.
9. Love Always Wins
Love is the most powerful vice we have. We should choose it and use it wisely.
10. Be You
There is so much pressure from the outside world to for you to be a certain way and society is very influential in trying to model you to fit their model. Being you is the most rewarding and fulfilling feeling out there. Life is too short to pretend or try to be anyone else and you should never be ashamed of who you are. Let your freak flag fly and those who love you will celebrate you. Those who don't aren't worth your time.
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