We just got back from our first vacation as a family of six. I have to admit, I was a little intimidated at the thought of loading everyone up, going for a long car ride, then spending a week at the beach. Seemed like a lot to manage. But it went great, and the little kids did fabulous.
So, how did we do it?
First, find some friends who are super-understanding and rent a beach house. We chose Tybee Island in Georgia (which is highly recommended, especially if your family likes to boogie board). This was really the only way we could have accommodated all of us. We went with Brad and Laura and their two kids, a girl who is Eleanor’s age and a boy who is Ayub’s age. While this led to occasional spats, it kept our own kids from interacting too much with each other, which is almost always a disaster.
Second, pack wisely. We bought groceries at Costco and ate breakfast and lunch at the beach house every day and alternated families cooking dinner. Not only did we save money on eating out, but we also didn’t have to control wild kids at a restaurant. Of course, it was a challenge to pack our mini-van with all those supplies, but we bought a hitch and piled it on the back.
Third, use the ocean and the sun to wear them out. That was the easy part. We spent every morning at the beach, when it was less crowded, and did some other activities after nap time in the afternoon. We went on an ecology tour with Dr. Joe, where everyone looked for ocean life and then he taught us about what we found. It sounded like it might be over Ayub’s head, but he loved looking at all the creatures we found. One afternoon, we took the girls to the art museum in Savannah which has a great kids’ interactive exhibit. We also took the kids on a dolphin tour and got to see a lot of them swimming around the boat. We had movie nights, and generally stuck to bedtimes for the little kids.
Here’s some proof we had fun:
We had been explaining the concept of vacation for several weeks to the little kids. But I guess we forgot to mention that it was temporary. When we loaded up the car I asked Ayub if he was ready to go home and he started pointing at the beach house. He didn’t realize that we weren’t staying there forever. Poor thing…I know how he feels. But, we’re already making plans for next year!