This is a collaborative post from BimbleBox
Can you remember the last time you and your family went on holiday together? According to one source, excessive school fines and office pressures mean that we might be seeing the end of traditional family holidays. This is quite an emotive subject, as for many of us, our happiest childhood memories are the result of time spent away with family. The idea that they might not play a role in our children’s lives is a difficult concept to accept.
These modern times present their own challenges that get in the way of the traditional family vacation. Corporate life is increasingly competitive, meaning you may not be thrilled with taking time off work. In fact, a third of British workers fail to take their full holiday leave. Supply and demand means that accommodation and transport are much more expensive during the school holidays. Not all parents can reasonably take time off at the same time, meaning that more and more children are experiencing holidays with only one parent. Regardless of how enjoyable these holidays may ultimately be, there will always be the lingering, sad reminder that one member of the family is absent.
Despite changing times, it is equally essential to keep in mind that family holidays offer a great many benefits. No matter your budget, they should be a priority, and there is always a way to reap the rewards.
Importance of quality family time
So why are family holidays so important? Well, it has been shown that those families who set time aside for holidays are able to build and solidify family bonds and promote a real sense of community. Psychologists have stated that family holidays can help promote what are known as crescive bonds; these bonds develop between family members following shared experiences and can help to build meaningful connections.
In addition to this, a poll from 2015 has shown that the social and psychological benefits of family holidays are critical. The research revealed that nearly half (49%) of Britons claim that their happiest memory was the result of a family holiday, while an impressive 55% also attested to the fact that family holidays provided happy memories that would remain with them forever. 24% stated that these memories were significant enough to help them through difficult times; John McDonald refers to these memories as a ‘happiness anchor’. Happiness anchors act as a rescue remedy. They calm us and help us during times of stress or sadness.
How to have a family holiday on a budget
Family holidays don’t have to come at a high price. In fact, splashing out a lot of money can serve to simply heighten the expectations of a holiday, making it all the more stressful if everything doesn’t go strictly to plan. All that matters is that the whole family is together and interacting with one another. There are many ways that families on a budget can achieve this.
All children love an adventure; consider going camping with an old-fashioned tent and limited electronics. This will encourage everyone to communicate and appreciate the moment. In addition, it is healthy for all of us to get back to nature from time to time.
If you are unable to go camping or if you would prefer some bricks and mortar, then a family cottage break could be ideal. You can book last minute cottage deals, which can save vast amounts of money, and cottages have a home-away-from-home feel that you rarely experience in a hotel. On top of this, many self-catered cottages are pet-friendly, meaning you can take your dog with you on holiday and avoid the stress of finding an appropriate kennels.
Family bonding activities
There are a number of activities you can enjoy on holiday that will work to draw your family together and strengthen you as a unit. Try to minimise the use of electronics. If you’re still using them on a frequent basis, adults will find it more difficult to leave work at the office and children will be so engrossed in their games they won’t be able to immerse themselves in the holiday.
You can bake together, which, although messy, can be a lot of fun and the results are often delicious. You can go on a picnic and enjoy a game or two. Throw a ball around or have a game of catch. It will get your adrenaline running, it is pure, simple fun and the children will love it. Of course, it will also tire them out so they can look forward to a long, uninterrupted night's' sleep.
Try to settle down to dinner at a table every night and discuss what you've done during the day, or what you want to do the next. Make it a rule to leave your phones in another room, so you can enjoy one another's company without distractions. After dinner, a family board game is always a great idea, or you could let the children stay up to watch the sunset.
However, if you genuinely can’t stay away from technology for long, find a film that you all enjoy and have a popcorn-and-movie night. Animated films are a great option that can usually be enjoyed at all ages.
Whatever you choose to do and wherever you go, remember that you owe it to yourself and your family to escape every now and then. Even if you can only manage the occasional weekend away, there are weekend cottage breaks available at a steal. No matter how much time you can afford, remember to cherish the time you have with your family now, so that your children will have memories to last a lifetime.