Surviving A Family Vacation: Best Practice Strategies

As if finding airfare, booking hotel rooms, finding a rent-a-car, and scheduling sight seeing weren’t enough, you’ve got your kids to travel with!! Going on a relaxing vacation should be, well, RELAXING!!There are several tools that you can implement before you go on vacation that will ensure not only a relaxing vacation but also a PEACEFUL one!!!

 Surving Family Vacation

1. CONDUCT A FAMILY MEETING (1 Week Prior)

Topics to Discuss:
-Where you are going
-When you are going
-How long you will be gone for
-The fun activities you have planned (show pictures if possible)
-The rules and expectations, as a WHOLE GROUP and write them down as a reminder (Encourage the children to participate in rules and expectations if they are old enough, but do not allow for any child to suggest them for other children)  Review this list with them again on the day before you leave and during the trip as needed. Remind the children that they participated in the making of the rules and expectations; this encourages them to be more cooperative.

2. CREATE A REINFORCEMENT PLAN (3 days prior)

Developing a reinforcement plan should be developed and agreed upon by both you are your children.

Tips for creating a foolproof reinforcement plan:

– Each plan should be specific to a child and what they would find reinforcing
-Set a specific behavior, such as no yelling, to gain the reinforcer
-S/he will get one reminder per day to not yell. If s/he continues to yell or does it again, the reinforcer for that day is lost
-Make the reinforcer HIGHLY preferred for better results, and always follow through
-If the child did not earn the daily reinforcer, s/he will not have access to it. This will show the child that s/he must earn the reinforcer and encourage better behavior the rest of the week.

The following are examples of reinforcemnt plans:

-Daily reinforcers (for extra time alone or with a parent or choice of specific activity at the end of the day)
-A larger reinforcer at the end of the trip (a new video game, a sleepover, going bowling with friends)
-A sticker each day or a point system for the day/week (example: the child needs to earn 7 out of 10 points to earn the reinforcer)

3. CREATE A SOCIAL STORY (Read this every night and every morning 1 week before the trip)

-Each page should have a picture on the top related to the words on that page
-Use specific information related to the child to make the story personal
-Use specific names, ages, and situational details
-After the child reads the story, or has the story read to him/her, ask the child a few comprehension questions related to the story
-Ask the child to say one detail of the situation, to describe what he/she is supposed to do (behavior) and what will happen when he/she does the behavior (reinforcer)
-The child should have access to the story at all times, to look back at it if desired
-Remember the pages of your story can be any size. Lamination is suggested to help stories last longer.

Enjoy your vacation with your family. If you use all of these suggestions, you are sure to have a peaceful and relaxing vacation!