Summertime is a common time for travel since the kids are out of school. There’s no need to worry about unexcused absences or missing homework. Fewer worries about the hustle and bustle of the school week. But as I have worked with kids in both the school year and summertime, I have realized there are pros and cons to the summer travel schedule. I will share those thoughts with you as you begin planning your final summer travel plans (or if you are REALLY ahead of the game — planning for next summer’s trip already!).
Pros to travelling in the summer
- Obviously, they won’t be missing school. This means there are no hoops to jump through for missing homework, pre-arranged absence forms, calling the school to tell them of the absence, etc. Beyond the logistics though, the real benefit to not missing school is that they won’t be missing instruction time from their teachers. Your child’s teacher is uniquely trained to provide direct instruction to your child. And whether you agree with all of his or her approaches, I always remember to be thankful that my kids have someone other than me to learn from. In particular, someone with a degree in teaching.
- Without the stress of school (on everyone – including your child), summertime is typically a less stress-filled time. Less stress typically means a more ‘successful’ vacation. The laidbackness of summer may be more conducive for travelling.
- For some, there may be dual purpose travelling. Summertime is a common time for weddings and summer parties (see a recent post about surviving those parties here!). This means, you might be able to travel somewhere while also seeing friends or family. Maybe you have a summer family reunion in a fun place! You get to see a new place AND see family/friends. Double the fun!
Cons to travelling in the summer
- Perhaps from your child’s perspective, they aren’t missing school. 🙂 Maybe you have a child who is a bit older and really desires going to school, but for most kids, the break from school is a welcomed idea! And frankly, for most of us, having a break from the monotone of work is something we would celebrate. For some kids I’ve seen in therapy, I have recommended the parents schedule a mental health day for their child one afternoon a month. This means picking them up around lunchtime and having a fun afternoon with just mom or dad to give a break from schoolwork, peers, instruction, rules, etc. I can’t tell you how powerful this small change has been for many of my clients, and may be for your child, too!
- It’s a common time to travel, so it might be crowded and expensive. What I have learned from many parents I have talked to, and learned in my own life, crowds and kids do not usually go well together. When something is crowded, it usually means waiting, cramped spaces, and increased agitation. Does any of that sound like fun?? Not to me either! Or our kids! Knowing this, it might be helpful to prepare for this ahead of time. Play games while waiting in line for the amusement park ride. Heads Up (app on iPhone), I Spy, and 20 questions are good for just about any age. If you are in a crowded area for a bit of time, try to find an open space to get some reprieve where they can run and stretch out.
- Breaking up the summer routine – which is usually a routine kids love – may be more challenging than you think. You know how when you go on vacation, by about the 3rd or 4th or 5th day, you find yourself wanting to “get back home and into the routine again.” It’s a really similar thing for our kids. They get into a groove in the summertime, and while they may love summer travel, it disrupts that routine. Then you have to get into a vacation routine for a week and then back to summer routine again. As I type this out, we are leaving for a 4-day trip with family, I am realizing how much the back and forth and back might impact my little guys! Remembering this out-of-the-norm may just cause them to be a little bit off balance will help keep you from becoming overly frustrated with their minor (or major) behavior problems.
In the end, kids are resilient and will adjust, not matter where we drag them to! As you are considering your next summer trip, consider your child (or children) and whether some of these pros and cons might also ring true for them!
photo cred: Pixabay