It’s a brave parent who isn’t slightly scared of taking their offspring abroad. Will he eat the food? Will she get sunstroke? Will they innocently (or knowingly!) insult the locals? Just remember that most Spanish resorts are used to families, especially along the south coast, with its clean, child-friendly beaches & PortAventura theme park nearby.
A little preparation will help your kids (and, importantly, you) have a fun, relaxing holiday & create happy summer memories:
Keep special days a secret.
A basic itinerary is useful & prevents you wasting your holiday. It’s tempting to share your exciting plans with everyone before even reaching the airport. But if you’ve anything special lined up, it may be best to keep it secret until the day (unless your child is pathologically terrified of surprises). This means:
- they can enjoy each normal day, un-distracted by your thrilling plans for tomorrow
- they won’t be horribly disappointed if plans need to change
- they won’t have time to get scared of the prospect, or sick with over-excitement
- it’ll be a nice surprise when it does happen
Keep their routine going.
Most adults relax their grip on mealtimes, bathtime & bedtime when they’re on holiday. The problem is, children tend to suffer without a basic routine, wherever they are. Feed them late, miss out naptime - suddenly they erupt with hungry, overtired misery. You’re already used to carrying a snack supply to keep them going. Don’t be afraid to stock up in Spanish supermarkets. Carry more water than usual, too, & make sure they drink it! Heatstroke feels awful & can ruin your child’s entire holiday.
If you’re out for the day, but your kids still need an afternoon nap, make sure you have something to provide shade while they sleep. You could invest in something like this toddler tent-bed, but fabric draped over the rear car-window should be enough. Just leave the doors open.
Don’t rely on public transport.
Being eco-friendly is important, these days; we’re all making an effort to walk & use public transport. But holidaying with kids takes enough concentration, without navigating a foreign bus network. Especially when it’s hot & you’re carrying everyone’s beach-bags. Do everyone a favour & find a cheap car hire company. The kids will be much less sweaty. You’ll be less likely to yell at them. Everyone’s happier.
Learn some Spanish together!
I know - I know. If you’re anything like me, you feel awkward trying to bend your uptight English mouth around those fluid foreign vowels. But - let’s be frank - turning up in a foreign country unable to even thank the locals in their own language is pretty cowardly. Show the children you’re unafraid - plunge in & learn some basic Spanish, from scratch, together, then have fun trying it out once you’re there.
Dora the Explorer is great if they’re young enough. You can find free Spanish lessons on the BBC website, or search online for freebies like this one. You could even borrow language-learning DVDs or software from local library. Whatever you choose should have audio examples & memorable pictures or video. You don’t need to learn loads - just enough to be polite is a good start.