Enjoying The Younger Year Vacations


Enjoying The Younger Year VacationsWe are going on vacation to Gatlinburg next week, and I am so excited to get out and about with my family. I am thankful for the blessings that allow us to enjoy a vacation. I’m also grateful that both of my girls are still on the younger side (eight and three), so a vacation is as simple as finding an affordable place to stay with a decent pool and a playground!

I hear from many mom friends with youths in their preteens and teens that vacation time changes pretty quickly as the kids get older. And, as I dredge through the musty corners of my memories and think back to vacations with my own family, I remember there being a moment of change around 13 when I was a bit moodier, less interested in playing, and certainly less willing to do silly things like playgrounds and puzzles. I’m sure mothers with older children have to keep it fresh with many different ideas like hiking, theme parks, movies, adventures, etc. and I am sure there is a lot of fun and adventure to be had…and perhaps a lot of money to be spent.

However, thankfully, our littles (as well as our wallets) are not prepared for quite that much activity.

During this upcoming vacation, my kids will hopefully be tired, happy, and blissfully fulfilled after hours and hours and hours marinating in communal chlorine water. Add a few simple water slides or a diving board, and we have a vacation at its finest! Outside our time in the pool, we will add a few fun crafts and puzzles to keep the older kids busy and less fractious while meals are prepared.

A few fun games we’ve adopted as a family include Carcassonne and Sushi Go Deluxe, quick games that can be played well with kids around age seven and eight, and children around five and six as team helpers. We will be cooking s’mores at the campfire, playing gooney golf at the hotel’s mini-course, and generally avoiding all the traps of Pigeon Forge and a proclivity of black bears waking up from hibernation.

Our vacation plans are still trickier since we have a three-year-old mixed into the batch of five- to eight-year-old dolphins. The youngest isn’t able to keep up: she can’t stay in the pool as long, still sometimes needs a nap, and is in the potty training stage that includes sitting on a porcelain throne at least every five minutes. So, though we don’t have to accommodate the challenges of older children, we still have some toddler lag on one side. One of the best ways I’ve found to make sure that we can all stay and play together throughout the day is to pack the ‘toddler bag.’

This ‘toddler bag’ differs from a diaper bag as it does not have all the accouterments one needs for a baby. It has all the norms like an extra outfit, snacks, and such, but it also includes a few dedicated activities that can be played with low energy. Some little pool toys allow her to play in the shallows while everyone else splashes in the deep. A few extra towels are included so she can snuggle up in a rocking chair for a nap if needed, and of course, the iPad to provide that last hour of desperate distraction so that the others can finish wearing themselves out. So far, this method has been beneficial.

This is my hope,

This is my dream,

Please Dear Lord keep us all safe during the upcoming holidays!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here