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Take Time to Plan a Family Vacation or Trip

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

I have written so often about the importance of family time, so as we start off the New Year with everyone heading back to school, after having several weeks of being together, I have again learned a lesson. There is a BIG difference between a vacation and a trip.

Don’t get me wrong, both vacations and trips are wonderful and a well-earned pleasure. But a trip is something you take with your children, grandparents and extended family. A vacation is “a trip” taken without the children, as in just the mother and father alone together.

I have known this for many years after travelling with small children and all of the stuff you have to also take with you. Car seats, porta cribs, favorite stuffed toys, extra sets of clothes, sippy cups, the list is endless. As I was sitting in several airports over the last week I am still in awe of how much “stuff” one father can carry, as well as a child strapped to either his chest or in a backpack. And it is even more difficult to travel now with the security lines requiring everything to be scanned, including the your-baby strapped to your chest. No liquids either, so once you get to the other side you have to re-stock with fluids and food for the flight. It is an exercise in juggling.

But the point of this is that both trips and vacations are important to family well-being. Without the trips together you would never have the stories to recant of losing a car seat, a piece of luggage, or even forgetting a child in the bathroom until you reach the gate and realize you are missing something, a child! (I really think Home Alone could totally happen, and it makes me laugh even as we watched it for the 100th time on this family trip). Trips are the memory book of your children growing up, pictures that will be priceless forever. But parents need some time to themselves too, and I encourage new parents to remember how important this is throughout their parenting.

Whether you take an overnight “vacation” to a nearby hotel or go away for a long weekend or the anniversary vacation for a week, it is important to have time together as husband and wife. No matter the ages of your children the parental vacations will make for better marriages and happy well-adjusted kids too, who see their parents return after a few days away. Remember the obligatory small gift (even a pack of lifesavers from the airport will do).

New Year’s resolution, recover from family trip, plan vacation!

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again soon!

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