While we were making plans for a holiday in Goa, my husband suggested we leave our two-year old with her grandparents. While we would have some relaxing ‘alone’ time in Goa, she would enjoy with her grandparents who she adores. But I put my foot down.
‘No way,” I said. “She needs to holiday with us. It will make her more adaptable.” So we took her with us on our 5-day vacation to Goa. Though it involved some planning and workarounds, the holiday was fun, both for us and our daughter.
But there were certain things that I learnt from this trip. Sharing them with you; they might help you for your vacation with your little one(s).
Carry little knick-knacks: I always carry Aanya’s fancy water bottle while travelling though she doesn’t like to drink from it. Confused; why do I take it at all? Aanya has this annoying and embarrassing habit of asking for other kids’ water bottle. During such times, I threaten her by offering her bottle to the other kid. This usually stops her. While kids yearn for other attractive things, they cannot part with their own. Carry things like a ball, beach set, puzzles or other games of interest to keep your child busy.
Let them enjoy: While your idea of fun might be to laze around at the poolside or beach, it might not always agree with your child. She is a different person; hence she might not enjoy the same things as you do. Find out about her interests and let her enjoy in them. For example, we would make it a point to take Aanya to the little playground where she could swing and slide. Also, she loves animals. So my husband would take her to play with dogs or cats. The only downside – she didn’t want to leave them.
Trust people a little: Yes, there are lots of horror stories of strangers abducting kids or mistreating them. But you can’t measure everybody with the same yardstick. Trust a little; everybody you meet is not out there to harm your child. In our hotel, there was a playpen with a dedicated nanny. So we entrusted her with our precious darling for a couple of hours each day. Aanya would enjoy her time playing with various toys while we could steal some nap hours. Also, at a couple of restaurants, the waiters took over the responsibility of playing ‘catch and throw’ ball with Aanya while we could eat in peace.
Carry extra: We all know that with kids, variety is the name of the game. They get bored with one thing easily, so you need to give them options. But another important thing to remember is to carry more or extra of the same thing. While we were waiting at the airport lounge waiting for our flight to be announced, Aanya walked up to this woman who was offering biscuits to her two sons. She stood before the lady and started looking expectantly at her. The lady offered her a biscuit too which Aanya promptly took. By the time I saw her, she was happily munching on her treat. It was embarrassing for me but the lady good-naturedly waved aside my thanks. This incident taught me to always carry more; you wouldn’t want to disappoint other kids too.
Never keep them hungry: Always remember, a hungry child is a cranky child. Never let that happen or it will take away all the fun from your holiday. In Goa, we never once ate at the hotel. So it was very important for me to fortify my daughter with some food before we stepped out for breakfast. So I would give her milk (buy flavoured milks by Amul) first thing in the morning. Also, a fruit thereafter. This would last till we settled down for our breakfast an hour later. Even while ordering food, we would take care of her needs first. And one more important thing, if you are drinking, order a harmless drink (lemonade, iced tea, orange juice etc.) for your child as well; this way you might be able to enjoy your drink. Oh, I almost forgot to mention it. The drink should be of the same colour as yours. Kids are very smart, fortunately and unfortunately.
Kids adapt: Kids are nothing if not adaptable and they actually enjoy the change unlike most adults. In spite of some change in her sleeping schedule, Aanya was never cranky. Even after late nights, she would wake up early if we asked her to though she would catch her cat naps in the commute. Another example, for the first few days, we had hired a car to travel to far-off places. But on the last day, we had hired a scooter. While we grumbled about the change in the nature of the vehicle, Aanya actually enjoyed the cool breeze in her hair. She got down from the scooter announcing, “Aanya is very happy, happy!”
Never forget these: Yes, yes, you are on a holiday but can you ever take a break from parenting? Always remember to carry these things everywhere and you can take care of any emergency – a couple of diapers, knickers, change of clothes, black throwaway bags, wet wipes, newspaper, water bottle, biscuits, etc.
Relax a little: While on holiday, just go with the flow. At my husband’s behest, I let Aanya play in the sand. She was pouring sand over her hair and all over her body. The sight made me cringe at first. But then I got used to it. Though it took some additional minutes to clean her in the shower, her happiness was priceless. Just remember, if your child is dirty, it won’t bring an apocalypse. So chill!
Even after all your careful planning, you might have a few hiccups; that’s what makes it more interesting and memorable. The last tip would definitely be: Do not expect it to be like your honeymoon and you will enjoy more.