WHY I LOVE HOLIDAYS WITH MY KID
Words by: Rob Chilton
Some of my fondest childhood memories are of family holidays. Playing crazy golf in Scotland, riding a donkey in Hampshire, playing Monopoly in a caravan in Dorset, eating a Cornish pasty on the beach in Devon.
Yes, it was Great Britain and so it was raining most of the time. And freezing cold. And we were trapped in a smelly, damp caravan. But, ahhh, they were golden times.
Years later, now a father, I find a major pleasure of being a parent is taking holidays with my wife and daughter and trying to pass on those kinds of memories (without the hypothermia and wet socks) to my daughter.
Our two-year-old has travelled well in her short time on the planet – Oman, Mauritius, France, Spain, Italy – and, while I know she won’t remember much or any of it, every minute of those holidays have been some of the happiest times of my life.
What a simple pleasure it is to simply sit at the water’s edge on a beach and mess about. I have rediscovered a love for building sandcastles and find it highly satisfying when a perfectly-formed fortress slides out of the bucket with its four turrets intact.
I love offering foreign foods to my daughter that she’s never tried before and seeing her gobble them up. Holding my wide-eyed girl as we go into restaurants and cafes where waiters and chefs are always happy to talk, show us into the kitchen and play games with her is a lot of fun.
New place, new rules
Unlike life at home, on holiday there are no routines. Bedtimes, bathtimes and mealtimes slide around the schedule so the days and evenings can be more spontaneous. I find that everybody relaxes a little bit.
We can suddenly stop and have something to eat at that little place tucked down a side street. It may be 3pm, in between lunch and dinner, but that’s okay, we’re on holiday and the pizza looks amazing.
Standards of cleanliness slip dramatically on holidays with young children. Who cares if we walk around covered in sand, sun cream and sticky ice cream? We can pad around pools, beaches and our holiday apartment without shoes for days if we want.
We wear the same swimming trunks three days in a row. Don’t feel like getting dressed this morning? No problem, just wear a nappy then – I’m talking about my daughter, not me.
I feel travel is incredibly bonding for parents and their children. Put simply, it’s an adventure for everyone, some of it good, some of it bad (airports with young children, I admit, are bedlam).
The sights, smells and sounds are stimulating to minds young and old, and all that fresh air and sunshine tires everyone out, which leads to delicious, long sleeps.
Holidays mean uninterrupted quality time with family, cuddles in hammocks, al fresco breakfasts, funny photos and dozens of special memories that, hopefully, last a lifetime. Just make sure you go somewhere warm.