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Quick—remember the best summer vacation of your childhood.
Can you feel the sand on your toes as you built a gigantic sand castle, or the high grass tickling your calves as you ran through a meadow in the twilight of a long summer day? Or maybe you recall waking up in the cool quiet of a mossy cabin and hearing the chatter of morning birds in the tall trees outside?
What you might not remember is your parents planning that vacation, talking at night behind closed doors about what the next summer adventure would be. Fast forward to today—you're one of the parents and guess what? It's time to start thinking about building those fantastic memories for your kids.
So, here are six things to consider when crafting your next great family summer vacation:
1. Planning Is Key
Time is of the essence. You probably want to start planning now for your summer vacation, or life will get busy and you might end up doing the same old thing as last year. (Summer in your backyard was fun, but aren't you ready for something a little different?)
2. Look Past Beaches and Amusement Parks
The beach is great and Legoland is fun, but have you ever considered going to an awesome family camp? Your whole family could learn yoga and mindfulness, and get in those hikes in the woods, too. Take home skills for all ages that stick with you far longer than a bag of candy and another plastic toy. Interested? Check out the Mindful Family Camp Retreat with Elisha and Stefanie Goldstein.
Do you have a teenage daughter who might enjoy some extra TLC? Here's another not-so-run-of-the-mill course for parents and kids, Mothers and Daughters Ages 13-15 taught by mother-daughter duo Sil and Eliza Reynolds. (They also teach Mothers and Daughters Ages 10-12.) You and your daughter will learn skills for enhanced communication, take away tips to nourish your relationship, and still have plenty of fun doing yoga and adventuring in the Santa Cruz mountains.
3. While Your Kids Are Away at Camp, Consider a Program for Adults!
Kids aren't the only ones in need of summer fun. Remember to schedule a vacay for yourself too! What about letting your inner goddess roam free at Sierra Bender's Goddesses Gone Wild?
Or, if you want to dive into a parenting program, how about Daniel Siegel's Launching Your Adolescent into Adulthood? Enjoy the chance to immerse into new learning while soaking up some weekend R & R.
4. No Matter Where You Go, There Will Be Rough Spots
Routine provides comfort—to kids and parents alike. Going on vacation is a disruption from routine, so be sure to expect hiccups and bumps. Even the best-laid vacation plans end up with a few detours, a few tears, and some spilled lemonade. Just remember to breathe through the disappointments.
That can certainly be easier to say than do (especially if you have a toddler melting down in a convenience store) but remember—this too shall pass. Don't worry about what other people might be thinking. Focus instead on what is best for your child and you. Like David Bowie sang in "Golden Years" many moons ago: "Walk tall. Act fine."
5. Know That Fresh Air Will Bring New and Fresh Thoughts
A vacation in nature can light the creativity candle—for both you and your children. Plan your vacation days so that you all get some movement time and some creative time. One will feed the other. Keep those notebooks and paintbrushes handy.
6. Go Slow and Smile: The Happiest Vacations Aren't Always the Busiest
When you recall your fondest summer vacation, what do you remember most? The activities? Or the relaxed moments in which all of you just seemed to be together somewhere special—happy, warm, and loving in the same space, satisfied simply to be sharing each other's company.
In this busy world, we often get caught up in too much and move too quickly. So, no matter what you do for your family vacation, it's important to plan some time to slow down and soak up what the world has to offer. Take in the scenery, breathe in the air, appreciate the moment … as a family. Enjoy the wonderful moments as they unfold.
Lisbeth Darsh is a 1440 Multiversity content fanatic, as well as the author of six books and the popular fitness/inspiration blog Words With Lisbeth. A former executive at CrossFit Inc., Lisbeth has also been a fitness coach/gym owner, an English professor, and a military officer. You can usually find Lisbeth with a book or barbell in hand, looking to lift spirits and weights.