The Vacation Myth: Most of us think we need to hop on an airplane or drive a hundred or so miles to be able to call the time we take off a vacation. That?s simply one of life?s myths. With little effort and big savings, you can vacation at …
The Vacation Myth: Most of us think we need to hop on an airplane or drive a hundred or so miles to be able to call the time we take off a vacation. That?s simply one of life?s myths. With little effort and big savings, you can vacation at home, save money, and build memories that are as warm and wonderful as those we believe can only be lasting if we travel.
Often the big splashy trips we?re convinced our children favor take a backseat to the berries they picked locally and ice cream or muffins they make when you get home. The key to any successful vacation, home or away, is its lingering memory.
Preparing for an at-home vacation is easy. Forget the hassle of finding low cost air tickets (if they can even be found) or the expense of overhauling the car and filling the tank. No need to pack or worry about what favored toy or stuffed animal you might leave behind. If the weather changes, you’ll have rain gear or sweaters in the closet.
Make plans and get organized:
- Read the local, often free, newspapers in your area for ideas.
- Join the town swim club or set up the sprinklers in your yard for the children to run through.
- Gather friends and neighbors to organize a destination bike ride for your and their older children. Or, choose a place and ride to it with your family.
- Start a running or walking club that meets in the morning to beat the heat and serves to keep the family in shape. Award prizes at the end of the summer for the child or teen who has walked or run the most miles.
- Make this the summer you take on and finish an around-the-house repair or building project. Set a regular time for ?attacking the job? each day and involve all the children
- Plant a garden (and tend it), build a new walkway, paint a fence or part of the house?choose something the children and you will see daily and can be proud of, things you never have time for during the year and can’t do when you travel.
- Find the nearest lake or river for fishing, tubing or rowing.
- Pick local berries and bring them home to make jam or pancakes.
- Schedule a nightly excursion after dinner for ice cream or a treat your children love.
- Pitch a tent and sleep in the backyard or set up sleeping bags in the living room.
- Play board games or watch movies together in the evening, activities you rarely do for during the year.
- Check out the local petting zoo or pony or horse riding facility.
- Attend neighborhood carnivals and fairs.
- If you?re still stumped or none of these ?vacations? appeal to you, call your local chamber of commerce to find out what?s going on.
- Turn off computers and work cell phones to increase success of whatever you do.
- Avoid children’s team practices as if you were away; The American Academy recommends children take time off from their sport.
- Doing nothing is good, too?for all of you.
Sticking close to home makes good sense this year. You will be starting family traditions that surprisingly stick and fill your children?s memory banks. Guaranteed, some of what you do this summer ?at home,? your children will do with their offspring years from now.
Social psychologist Susan Newman, Ph.D. taught at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and is the author of 13 books, including Parenting an Only Child, The Joys and Challenges of Raising Your One and Only (Broadway Books), The Book of No: 250 Ways to Say It?and Mean It?and Stop People-Pleasing Forever (McGraw-Hill), Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day (RandomHouse/Crown), ), Little Things Mean A Lot: Creating Happy Memories with Your Grandchildren (Random House/Crown), and Nobody’s Baby Now: Reinventing Your Adult Relationship With Your Mother and Father. She blogs about only children for Psychology Today magazine: Singletons. Or, visit Susan?s website: www.susannewmanphd.com