Family vacations provide fun ways to make memories with your kids, but they take a lot of planning, packing, organizing and scheduling. Add to it the fact that when you have more than one child, there's no guarantee your itinerary is going to satisfy everyone in your family.
Here's a new idea on the horizon — traveling with only ONE child at a time. WHAT?!?!? We're not talking about huge vacations like Disney World, of course. The focus is on smaller getaways that can make for a special bonding experience with your kids, one at a time.
FRANKLIN MOM SHARES HER EXPERIENCE
The concept around this type of getaway experience allows you to enjoy concentrated one-on-one time with your child, and it eases the stress of planning activities for the entire family. And if there's a baby or toddler in your family, you won't have to work around his nap schedule if he's the one staying behind with other family members. Suggestions for one-child-only trips are ones surrounding special occasions like each child's birthday or milestone achievements (school graduations at various levels, etc.). Consider them "gift experiences."
"Our hunch — which we’ve found to be completely accurate — was that gifting rich experiences and cultivating memories together would lead to stronger relationships with our children," says Adams.
Adams and her husband routinely surprise each of their boys with one-on-one trips for special occasions, and she says the kids don't know where they're going or which parent is going with them until they set foot out the door.
"We cater these trips to the dreams, personalities and the kind of experience we imagine they each want to have," says Adams. "When Dixon turned 10, I took him to New York — just the two of us. Dixon had been talking about New York City his entire life and all the things he couldn’t wait to do once he was able to visit: see the city, take a taxi, see a New York Knicks game, ice skate in Central Park, see a Broadway show. So we did all of those things together," she adds.
Perhaps Adams is onto something.
Kids of all ages love going places and learning new skills like horseback riding, surfing, skiing and beyond. By going with a one-child approach to traveling, you can tailor the vacation time around specific activities your child wants to explore — activities that your other kids may have no interest in at all. Adams says she plans surprise experiences for her kids surrounding their birthdays and they're more memorable than standard birthday parties with gifts.
Of course, the urge to experience everything together as a family will tug at you. Should you decide to give this new idea a shot, the main question remaining is whether one parent goes and the other stays behind or both parents go and the siblings stay with friends or relatives while you're away.
THE BENEFITS OF TRAVELING WITH ONE CHILD AT A TIME
- Concentrated one-on-one time with each child.
- Not worrying about scheduling activities that fit everyone's interests.
- Less packing.
- More down time and relaxation.
- Less stress than keeping up with multiple kids.
- More time to enjoy attractions and special activities that interest each child.
- It saves money.
If a one-child-at-a-time trip piques your interest, go ahead and give it a whirl. Just be sure, though, to sit down as a family well in advance and explain this new experiment, assuring your children that each one of them will get to experience a special solo trip with Mom or Dad (or both) during special times of the year. And still plan on at least one big vacation each year that includes the whole family.