This past week the fair was in town so we decided to pack up the kids and head out for a while this past weekend.
We have our first BIG family vacation coming up next year and we have been attempting to plant the seeds needed for a great vacation in the months leading up to it. We are visiting Walt Disney World next year and while my husband and I have been many times we have waited to take Soph and Jack.
We have been very deliberate in planning when we want the kids to make their first trip and while I know my Type A planning won’t mean we will have a “perfect” vacation I want to mitigate as many problems ahead of time as I can!
Walt Disney World is very much sensory overload for little ones. There is so much noise, lots of people and tons to look at and experience. Since we have a good chunk of time before our vacation we have tried to plan certain experiences to help prepare the kids for what is to come.
My kids have a very set schedule as far as naps and bedtime are concerned and as a result if they don’t get their naps or to bed on time they become different kids almost instantly. With this in mind it is our plan to stay on our nap and sleep schedule during our trip, so this means heading out to the parks first thing in the morning then leaving in the middle of the day for naps and coming back in the evenings.
For the past few months we have tried to take the kids to places where they will encounter situations similar to what they will encounter at Disney. We have taken them to small amusement parks to see how they handle lines, rides, crowds and loud noises. The only problem we run into is not being able to just leave and take a nap in the middle of the day which usually results in a not so fun afternoon for everyone and an early exit. We are fortunate enough that the fair is held right in our hometown making it possible for us to test our theory that all would be right in the world if we broke up our day taking time to rest!
Spoiler Alert: it worked like a charm!
We usually wait until we are getting ready to go before we tell the kids what we are doing so we can avoid the “when are we leaving”, “are we there yet” questions for as long as possible. So shortly before we left for the fair we sat them down to talk to them about what we were going to do. Once the kids were in on the secret we explained how we expected the day was going to go and what we needed from them. Before we left the house they knew we were going to check out the animals and exhibits in the morning then eat lunch (I mean it’s fair food, you have to eat it!) and head home for naps. After naps and only if they actually napped would we go back that evening and hit up some of the rides and games.
Having the expectations laid out ahead of time made all the difference. We passed the rides as soon as we entered and there was no meltdown or asking to go on them. We had a great time in the morning petting all the animals and playing in the corn. Whoever came up with the idea of a sandbox full of corn was a genius!! My kids could spend hours in there if we would let them. After a few hours and some lunch we made for the car to head home. Much to my surprise we had no meltdowns and all was good.
As soon as we got home they went right down for their naps and when they woke up we had a snack and made our way back out for the rides and games part of the day. Again we explained our expectations (rides first, then games) ahead of time. We had a great time on the rides and a ton of fun playing games. When we had done all we wanted to do we told the kids it was time to go and had zero problem getting them out without a fight and home to bed on time!
This was the first time that we had a day like this out and about with zero problems and I am feeling more and more confident that if we stick to our regular schedule we will be able to avoid some of the meltdowns we are likely to come across on vacation. I will try this theory out a couple more times in the coming months but I think this will help everybody have a great time!
Lessons this mom learned this week: Explain expectations ahead of time and make sure they understand what is expected of them and stick to a schedule!!
Until next time!