Where would you never go with children?
It is said that holidays are the best time of the year. Unfortunately, this usually does not include arrival and departure. The stressed parents have to cope with over-excited and then bored children from the long drive or the almost endless flight. The psychologist Dr. Markus Schaer from the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, who also runs educational courses for parents in the family team's educational association.
Süddeutsche.de: The start of the vacation is an exceptional situation for everyone: the parents have to concentrate so that they don't forget anything. The excited children can hardly be stopped and ask every five minutes when it will finally start. How can parents take some pressure off that?
Markus Schaer: First of all, parents should be aware: Every family has stress on vacation, that is completely normal. Getting through it together can strengthen cohesion. When parents address their own feelings and those of their children, they feel understood and understand the parents better: "I see you're annoyed because it doesn't start yet. And I myself am excited because I'm afraid that we will be stuck in a traffic jam stand." Parents should also say in good time and with eye contact what they expect from the children: "I would like you to put on your shoes and jacket." Then it works too.
Süddeutsche.de: The stress will definitely come, but the vacation doesn't have to start with it ...
Schaer: It is better to prevent than to repair. The first rule is that parents take good care of themselves. For example, don't rush straight from work to vacation, but take enough time to pack. It is also important to agree with the parents: who does what and when? Can we load the car the evening before? With the children, mothers and fathers can clarify what they want to take with them so that it doesn't get too boring.
Süddeutsche.de: Despite all the preliminary planning, the pressure on the trip increases enormously. How can parents take countermeasures when they notice that they are becoming more and more irritable?
Schaer: Many parents expect their children to notice when they are stressed and to take care of them accordingly. But children don't notice it until their parents explode. So they should consciously calm down, take a deep breath and perhaps take a little break. And forgive what they got upset about as quickly as possible.
Süddeutsche.de: At some point the question inevitably comes up that drives parents crazy: "When are we finally here?" What do you answer to that?
Schaer: Unfortunately, there is no such thing as the perfect answer. But it will be easier for everyone if the parents explain in advance how the journey will be and how long it will take. The family can look at a map with the route together and trace the route. And when you are out and about, parents can point out where you are. In general, this question is less about the duration than about the statement that the child can actually no longer stand it.
Süddeutsche.de: The journey has to go on anyway.
Schaer: It often helps to put the children's feelings into words: "You are terribly bored right now, aren't you?" Then you can make a little game out of it: How does boredom feel, what would you rather do now? Aha, playing football - and against whom?
Süddeutsche.de: Doesn't that reinforce the impression that the journey has actually been taking too long?
Schaer: Many parents fear this, but picking up on the child's feelings does not increase the frustration, it makes the child easier because the parents show solidarity with him. And who doesn't appreciate being understood when they're uncomfortable?
Süddeutsche.de: How can parents shorten the time it takes their children to get there?
Schaer: It makes sense not only to plan in stages with many breaks, but also to adapt the plan to the rhythm of the children if possible. Then they can sleep on the go and get food at their normal meal times - because bored and hypoglycemia is a very bad mix. In addition, you can be a little gracious when traveling: The Gameboy stays on longer than usual and there is one more candy.
Süddeutsche.de: Sometimes there is an unplanned standstill, be it waiting for hours at the airport or traffic jams on the highway. How do parents react correctly when the children nag or crank out of boredom?
Schaer: If possible, you can take up the current need: Instead of running around wildly, the children just play a jumping game at the gate. If that doesn't work, you should have the toy case on hand. It is also nice to prepare for the holiday destination with books and to take them with you when you are out and about.
Süddeutsche.de: Parents imagine the vacation as beautiful as in the advertisement. Unfortunately, they are not an advertising family. Can children even meet the demands of their parents?
Schaer: It is true that we usually have very high expectations of the holiday: everyone finally has time, so many want two weeks of pure happiness. That can't work. But of course you have special experiences on vacation, and the family has them in common. Children talk about this time of togetherness for a long time. However, so that it is nice for everyone, expectations should be clarified: on which day the mother and when the father can go out alone, whether the children stay in holiday care and the parents have time for themselves. But be realistic: the vacation is a special time. It doesn't have to be the greatest time in life, however.
This is not how the parents had imagined leaving on vacation: The little one whines because the giant excavator doesn't fit in the car, the big one can't stand the excitement anyway: Here you can read the new episode of the education column: "When are we finally here ? "
Riddles against boredom: Here you will find ten children's games for on the go.
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