Posted by Rebecca Bingham, Special Needs Mommie | Posted in The Special Needs Mommy | Posted on 30-06-2010
Tags: familiarity, routines, traveling with kids, vacation
“I want to go home. I WANT to go HOOOOME”.
Are we having a fun vacation yet? That is the soundtrack of most of our vacations as a family. I think that I have actually had each kid crying this at the same time IN THE MIDDLE OF DISNEYLAND. I remember wondering how they missed the memo that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth.
So summer has rolled around again and this week we made our annual trek to Park City, Utah. This little town is nestled in the top of the Wasatch Range. It provides awesome skiing all winter and in the summer we get to take advantage of hiking, bike trails, swimming and even the occasional camping trip. It has everything you might need to have a fun summer vacation–including wide open spaces and an absence of crowds that view YOUR child’s tantrum as a major detriment to THEIR time in the happiest place on earth.
Park City is also is where I grew up and is where my parents still live. I look forward to this trip every year and each year we run into some of the same issues that make the trip less of a vacation and more of an exercise in endurance. I decided to do more prep work this time to help make this trip successful for all of us.
In years past, being on vacation meant being on vacation. No schedule, no rules, no therapy, just fun and rest. This didn’t work very well with my kids that really (and I mean REALLY) don’t do well with disruption. The sudden switch to new surroundings, new people and no schedule caused more than a few meltdowns. No one was really enjoying their “vacation” much.
This year I did a few things that have helped ease the transition. We talked with the kids about what room they would stay in at Grandma’s house (and we try to have them stay in the same room each time). I brought a pillow case from each of their bedrooms–unwashed. Weird, but their pillows looked and smelled like home. We have been really careful to keep the basics of the schedule routine… get up, eat meals, and have some quiet time at the same time as we do at home. We planned ahead of time what we were going to do and assigned each activity a day. We spend time talking about what we will do that day, what we are going to do the next day, etc. No surprises. I also let the kids pick a play list to put on their iPod. They started listening to it at bedtime at home, and then they got to listen to it at bedtime here too. It is a bit more organized than I usually roll, but just bringing in a little bit of familiarity has made a big difference to all of us.
So far, so good. We are on day 5 of our trip, and we had our first meltdown last night and it was pretty minor. Usually by this time I am ready to go home. We are having a lot of fun this trip and rolling with it. Even the kids have remarked that this trip feels different. Someday I might have the vacation that I dream of. The one where I get to sleep in and no one melts down and they are all excited to do the same things that I am….. I can dream right?
We are off to ride the Heber Creeper and have a picnic and float down the Provo river. Happy 4th of July to all of you and hopefully you have a safe and fun holiday weekend.