"Go out into the world. It is more fantastic than any dream". This saying by Ray Bradbury is a wonderful statement. But family holidays also have their pitfalls and all parents know it: pre-holiday stress. Planning and packing are huge challenges. The space required is large, the effective space for luggage small. Even more so when travelling by plane than in the car. Once everything is finally packed, stowed away and you're finally on your way, impatient comments start coming in after a short while: "How long will it be until we get there?" or "I'm bored!" Sitting still for long periods of time is just not for kids. There are a few things you can do to make the holidays, from packing to going home, stress-free. Choosing a family-friendly destination is very important so that children and adults can enjoy the holidays.
Anyone who has to pack for the whole family for the holidays knows what a challenge it is. You have to limit yourself to the bare essentials and make sure you don't forget anything. We have put together a checklist (PDF) for family holidays that you can download. Good holiday planning is key. With the ever tightening weight regulations for flying, you can quickly reach your limit. And there's not enough room in the car for all your favourite toys, travel cot, pushchair, back carrier and more. That's why it pays to book a family-friendly hotel. The Swiss Holiday Park is one of the leading hotels that provide guests with the most important baby and children's items free of charge. This means that prams and pushchairs can stay at home, which frees up a lot of space in the car. At Swiss Holiday Park, children and babies staying at the hotel or hostel eat for free at the children's buffet, which has been awarded the "Happy Spoon" label (label for healthy child nutrition). For holiday apartment guests, there is the low-cost children's meal pass. The baby food is from Holle Baby Food GmbH. Holle is one of the leading manufacturers of organic baby food. However, if you want certain brands for your baby, it is advisable to clarify the availability on site or to take these things with you. Also check if there is a shop or supermarket nearby where you can buy what you need. And remember to pack all the things you need during the trip (nappies, potties, nuggies, children's favourite soft toys, etc.) separately in a bag, so that you always have these things to hand and they are not hidden at the back of the car or in your suitcase. In the Swiss Holiday Park there is also a children's club where the children are looked after free of charge every day, various playgrounds and a large playroom, a games room and many attractions which make the family holiday varied and make you forget your favourite toys at home. Only the stuffed animal that the children need to fall asleep absolutely has to come along on the trip.
Download the family holiday checklist here.
During the peak travel season, getting caught in a traffic jam is almost unavoidable. And also at the airports the rush is big, the waiting times long. If you are travelling at night, it makes things a lot easier because the children are usually asleep then. There is also less traffic on the road and you can move faster. If it is not possible to drive at night, then there should be a break every two hours or so, during which the children can eat and drink something and romp around. It is perfect to plan small detours to children's attractions (zoo, large playground, etc.) during the ride. The drive will then be a little longer, but there is peace and quiet in the back seats for a while.
Thanks to today's technology, it is possible for children to watch DVDs or listen to CDs with nursery rhymes in the car. But if every child wants to hear something different or the same children's song is played for the hundredth time in a row, then this can be quite annoying for parents. However, there are other entertainment options for kids that are ideal for traveling on the go. Here are a few tips:
- For example, a fun game to play before the holidays is to draw or print things on a sheet that the kids are likely to see on the trip. When a child sees one of these items, they mark it on the sheet (e.g., a red car, a traffic light, a tanker truck, a black cloud in the sky, a meadow of flowers, a lake, a forest, etc.).
- A-Z Game: Identify a category such as food. The first child starts with the letter A and has to guess something that starts with A (apple), the next child continues with the letter B (banana) and so on until Z.
- Packing my suitcase. Also a game that parents have probably played before. The first person starts with "I'm packing my suitcase .... e.g. shoes". The next person repeats, "I am packing my suitcase: with shoes and socks" And so it goes on. Each person adds about more, the game gets more and more difficult. The person who forgets something is eliminated.
- I see something you don't see. Someone sees an object and the others have to guess it. Always popular, and really everyone knows this one.
- Compound words: someone starts and names a compound word. The next person takes the last part of the compound word and names another compound word. Example: Family holidays - holiday mood - mood cannon - cannon cleaner, cleaner fish, fish soup - soup bowl etc. If a child does not know any more, he/she gets a minus point and is allowed to start again with a new word.
- Painting boards. Wipe and go colouring boards are ideal for travelling. Make sure the pen is attached to the board.
- Apps: There are many age-appropriate apps that are fun and keep kids entertained for a long time while also learning something. Kikaninchen (free, for children aged 3 and up, from the children's channel KIKA), Astrokatz - Das Sonnensystem (from 5 years for CHF 3.50), Tierwelten-Memo for children (CHF 1.00) etc.
- Car colour guessing: The children guess what colour the car is that is coming towards them next. Whoever guesses the right colour gets a point.
- Endless story: Someone starts with one word, the second person adds another word and so on. This makes for the funniest stories.
- Sit still. It's not easy for young children to sit still for a while without saying a word. You can start with one minute of sitting still, then you may talk or play for a while again, the next time there will be two minutes of silence. Whoever breaks the silence gets a penalty point. Who perseveres, something small to nibble.
The beloved cuddly toy and some toys may never be missing. But do not take toys with small particles, balls or other objects that can distract the person behind the wheel, in the car.