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Being a mom of three can be tough as I try to divide my time among all of them. They have different needs and interests with one in elementary school, one in preschool and one in diapers. Last year, I started to make a conscious effort to have one-on-one time with each kid in the form of a domestic trip. Even if it was only 2 or 3 nights, having my undivided attention was going to help me build the relationship with each child. Plus, when you are accustomed to traveling with 3 kids, only having one with you is an absolute treat!
In today’s post, I will share some tips for planning your own parent-child getaway!
If you have more than one kid, the first consideration will be childcare for your other children. In almost every case, I rely on the my husband but have also leveraged my mom and mother-in-law on occasion for a portion of it. I usually will do 2-3 nights maximum for these trips as it is a reasonable amount of time to both travel and get some time at your destination to explore. We have usually done Friday-Sunday or Friday-Monday to minimize time away from work and school. When I am planning, I also look at:
- Flights: In addition to the price, I also consider the number of connections and the length of time in between flights. With my oldest, we can handle anything. With my middle one, we actually do better with a connection so she can get out and run around. When I am with the baby on my own, I try to go nonstop or a longer layover so I have time to deal with the gear (gate check can take forever!) and pre-flight diaper changes.
- Accommodations: Finding a place for just two of us is also quite easy. If we have friends locally, it is usually easy to accommodate us (versus a family of 5 where I feel like we are moving in). For hotels, opting for a smaller room is a nice change and provides much more flexibility.
- Things to do: I try to do something that matches my kid’s interests whether it be a museum, landmark or even just an amazing playground. My oldest is in 1st grade and we have been trying to align our trips with what she is learning in school.
- Transportation: I have factored this in quite a bit recently. My oldest can use the Bubble Bum booster seat so I am able to take her pretty much anywhere and still use a ride share or taxi. It folds up so small and is easy to throw in your bag or backpack. For the younger two which are both in car seats, I try to find places that have public transport from the airport or rent a car with a seat.
Making the Experience Special
With each trip in our first round, I tried to find things that I knew each child would enjoy. For my oldest, I was able to snag tickets to New York Fashion Week through Delta SkyMiles Experiences. We attended the Tibi Spring 2020 show and it was incredible. My 6 year old was one of just a few kids there. I also did a Broadway show (Frozen) and the Statue of Liberty. I took my son to Panama City Beach, Florida to visit a friend who had moved there. She also has a son and lives close to the beach so I knew my little guy would have a blast. I recently took my preschool age daughter to Austin, Texas to visit another friend (who has a son the same age as my daughter) and we did fun things like the kid’s museum, the park and some yummy treats.
When thinking about what to do with your child, consider what they like to do and start with a simple Google search or ask for recommendations on Facebook. Between museums, national or state parks, interesting dining experience and so on, you can curate the perfect getaway. Coffee table books of the US or a particular region are also great to inspire some interest.
Unveiling the Trip
With my younger two, there wasn’t too much fanfare on the trips because one kid was too young to know and the other kept asking me “are we going today?” each time I brought it up. With my oldest and the NYC trip, I opted to make it a surprise…and it totally backfired! I thought I was the coolest mom ever and decided to pack her bag and drive to the airport under the guise of picking up a friend. We were on a red eye so it was after 8pm and she was definitely getting sleepy. Once parked, I opened the trunk and said we were going on a plane. She burst into tears, and not the happy kind, as she was upset she didn’t get to properly say goodbye to my husband. I was able to calm her down and get into the terminal but I felt absolutely awful. Lesson learned though, this kid doesn’t like surprises! If you are not sure how your child would react and want to do something similar, I recommend announcing the surprise a few days prior to allow for time for it to sink in!
During the Trip
I am definitely more lenient during our special 1:1 trips. There’s more ice cream, the occasional Sprite and possibly even a souvenir. I try to say “yes” more as I find myself not being able to always say “yes” during regular life when we are juggling 3 kids, 2 full-time jobs and everything that comes along with those two. Be sure to take lots of selfies and even consider documenting your trip with a travel photographer like Flytographer or Shoot My Travel.
Have you done a trip with your child or are you planning one? Tell us about it using #1on1DatesWithMom on Instagram
If you have any other tips, please share them in the comments or my Instagram page.