The average family vacation cycle goes a little like this:

Day 1: “Yay! We’re going on vacation and I can’t wait to spend lots of time with the kids!”

Day 3: “These kids are driving me crazy. How can we still have 4 days left?”

Admit it. You’ve been there.

family ride
Time with the family in Yangshuo, China

The Truth About Family Time

The hard truth is that we aren’t a generation used to 24/7 kid interactions. They go to school/daycare for most of the working day and between that, homework and varying sports practices, there’s a good chance that the time you get to spend together is limited.

You miss them, I’m sure,  but I’m also willing to bet that while you may have cried when it was time to leave them at the kindergarten door, you also rejoiced in the realization that you now had a few hours of kid-free freedom. (If you didn’t do the “Tom Cruise in Risky Business” dance at least once during that first year of school, or sing along to “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” in September, I’m not sure we can be friends.)

But I digress.

Families do legitimately crave some time together on holidays… just not every waking moment. I mean, c’mon, you need a vacation too!

Enter the kids’ club.

Pick the Perfect Kids’ Club

Glorified babysitting? Only if you’re choosing it wrong.

Kids’ clubs have gained a level of sophistication once reserved for speakeasys and ocean liners. And while what they offer the kids can range from ultra-luxurious to daycare classroom, what they offer parents is the opportunity to spend as much (or as little) time with your mini-you as you can handle.

Chef for the day at Atlantis
Chef for the day at Atlantis

Keep these Kids’ Club tips in mind and you’ll go from “How much longer?!?” to “I could do this forever!” in no time.

How to Send Your Kids To A Kids’ Club

  1. Do The Research: Don’t even think of booking a place without taking a good hard look at the Kids’ Club offerings first. Arrival is no time to discover that there’s an extra fee or that kids under four aren’t welcome.  Of course, you’ll be checking to make sure it’s a safe place for your kids, but don’t forget to also take into consideration whether it’s the kind of place your kid will actually want to go to!  Keep their interests (and fears!) top of mind before setting them up for Circus school or the swim club. This part of the plan is crucial. Choose the wrong club – one they find boring – and you’ll regret it quickly.
  •  Do The Soft Sell:  The goal here is to make your little one think that going to the kids’ club for 1,2,… or 8 hours a day, is entirely their idea. Make no mention of the fun you’ll be having while they’re away from you or the fact that if they go, you’ll have the hammock all to yourself. Better still, let them think it’s their idea. A computer left open to the page of the club you’re considering next to that piece of chocolate you were saving for yourself, will be enough of a temptation to get them to peek.Then saunter in non-chalantly with a casual “Oh, that looks interesting,” and wait for your little fish to take the bait. Playing it cool is key. If they smell your joy, the gig is up.
Kid and shark
If they figure out your motives, its over
  •  Ease into the Entry: Straight to the kids’ club when you arrive? Never! You need the thrill to last as long as possible. The last thing you want is for them to run out of love for the place on day 3. Instead, soak up that family time you’ve been craving. Then, when YOU are ready, happen past the club while it’s in full swing with the kids at your side. “Oh, what’s this?”you might say as you pass. It’ll be enough to pique their interest. When they approach with a  “Can we go, mom,” simply sigh heavily and reluctantly agree. Then run to the adults-only pool bar and toast your acting skills.
  • Don’t self-sabotage: After you’ve put this kind of effort into choosing a place, the last thing you’ll want is to have anything spoil your fun. For us, that means making sure we insure our holiday. It is our way of hedging the bets in favour of a good time. Bags get lost? Flights interrupted? Someone trips on a conch shell? We’ve got peace of mind.

Disclaimer:  Heather Greenwood Davis is a brand ambassador for Allianz Global Assistance (Canada)and receives financial compensation for these posts. As always, all information shared is her own opinion.

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