After the past year of lockdowns, closures, and distancing from others, and as families are slowly returning to a sense of normalcy in their lives, parents are looking to reclaim summer vacation of 2021 in a big way. In a recent poll, researchers found that American parents are ready to pull out all the stops, packing their 2021 summer with trips and activities to make up for the bust that was the summer of 2020.
In the survey, researchers found that 64% of parents want to stuff a year’s worth of fun into their families’ schedules this summer. Summer road trips, camping trips, visiting relatives, going to the beach, pool days, and BBQs are among the activities being planned by parents.
Going hog-wild on family vacations this summer to make up for lost time sounds just about right to many parents. And summer vacations are great for creating lifelong family memories, bonding, and relaxation. But with jam-packed schedules also comes the risk of increased stress for everyone in the family.
According to Jim Burns, there are some practical tips parents can take to limit the amount of stress that could otherwise wreak havoc on the family, and especially when parents want to squeeze out every drop of fun during the summer of 2021. These include:
• Plan. Especially this summer. With perhaps more families taking trips this summer than ever before, supply and demand for travel (gas, airfare, hotels, car rentals) will almost certainly result in higher costs and more restricted options. While spontaneity may just the cure you’re looking for after the lost summer of 2020, “We’ll find a hotel to stay overnight when we get there,” may likely produce disappointing results in the summer of 2021. Making plans in advance will allow you to plan your budget and secure your travel and accommodations, which in turn will ease your, and your families,’ stress levels when you finally get out on the road.
• Set realistic expectations. Injecting extended periods of family fun via trips and activities will certainly benefit your family. Still, keep in mind, that after these many months where families have already been spending much of their time together, if your family members begin to perceive your plans as more “forced family fun,” you may unintentionally raise the stress levels in your family. Setting realistic expectations, building in down-times, and planning for plenty of outdoor times where your kids can play on their own or wander off for a while (safely, of course), will keep stress in check.
• Leave work at home. After the past year where many (most?) parents worked from home, this tip takes on a more literal aspect. If you’ve worked at home, you’ve likely learned that you can work from anywhere where Wi-Fi is available. But unless you have one of those jobs where you absolutely must do some work or stay in regular communication with your work, resist the urge to work while on your family vacation. This will be beneficial for you as a person, and your family will appreciate that they will have your full attention and that you won’t be distracted by work.
As you are able, make the most of the summer of 2021! Everyone in your family will benefit emotionally and physically, even if in taking small steps, by moving back to a more normal existence by leading your family into the post-pandemic world. Have fun and enjoy your family time!