With summer here already there is excitement in the air. Not only are the kids out of school but now you and the family get to plan your summer vacation. If you’re like most parents, you’re trying to plan something that will be a good experience for the kids. So you think of something like the Grand Canyon with all its formations, or even going to the beach so the kids can boogie board and collect sea shells. As good parents, you feel like it’s your responsibility to give your kids good experiences so they grow up to be well-rounded adults.
Make Summer Vacation for Your Marriage, Too
While summer vacations are good for the family, couples often forget about all the ways it can be for them as a couple, too. After all, it’s hard to think of romantic things with your spouse when when you’re packed into a crowded car, herding your children here and there, and sharing a crowded hotel room. So you end up sacrificing couple time for family time. But it’s only short-term right? You only have 18 years until your kids grow up and THEN you can vacation as a couple, right? Wrong.
Here’s the problem: Your spouse needs to feel loved and cared for regardless of whether your children are present or not. Plus, your children are only with you for 18 years (hopefully), your spouse will be with you for the rest of your life so it’s important to stay connected to each other. Plus. children need good examples of a healthy relationship. So if you’re sacrificing your relationship for the sake of your children, you’re not actually being a good parent (or spouse for that matter).
Ways to Stay Connected During Your Summer Vacation
1) Book a Suite With Two Rooms. If you’re like most couples you vacation on a budget so buying two separate hotel rooms just so you and your spouse can have “alone time” is just impractical. And you may not feel comfortable leaving your kids in a hotel room all by themselves, either. That’s why you should book a suite with two separate rooms. It’s usually a little more costly but it’s well worth it. The kids love having their own room to do kids stuff and the adults love having their own room to do adult stuff. After being crowded in a car for so long, everyone loves their privacy.
2) Go Out to Dinner Just the Two of You. Vacations are already expensive but be sure to add a little to the budget so you and your spouse can go out to dinner just the two of you. Leave the kids at the hotel (if they’re old enough) and find a nice place for just the two of you. Vacation spots have lots of things for families but they also have good things for couples, too. Checkout Groupon, Yelp or Living Social for couple ideas at your vacation spot. The kids normally love being by themselves in the hotel for a while anyway!
3) Go to The Hot Tub Together. Kids love hotels because they love to go swimming in the pool. But did you know hotels also usually have hot tubs by the pool? It’s true. They’re those round things off in the corner. Instead of playing with your kids in the pool the whole time, let them play by themselves for a while while you and your spouse go soak in the hot tub. If the kids want to join, tell them you’ll go play with them in a minute and to let you and your spouse talk. Once they hear the word ‘talk’ they usually don’t want to be around for that boring grown up stuff and are happy to go continue playing in the pool.
4) Pick Places And Activities the Grown-ups Will Like, Too. Yeah, part of the reason you go on vacation is to give your kids experiences. And yeah, you want to do stuff the kids will remember, But if you spend all your time doing what the kids want you’ll be exhausted and won’t feel like you had a vacation at all. Don’t forget vacations are for you, too. As parents you sacrifice a lot for your kids already. There’s no need to sacrifice your vacation when there are lots of activities and places that both grown-ups AND kids will like.
About the Author:
Aaron Anderson is a therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert. He specializes in working with couples learn to communicate and overcome sexual difficulties.