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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Stepfamily Vacations - 5 Tips for Navigating Your Trip Successfully

If you've lived in a stepfamily long, you've probably endured a stressful stepfamily vacation. Throwing family members together for an extended period of time can wreak havoc on even the most stable family. For a fragile stepfamily, it can be a recipe for disaster. 

But with the summer months upon us, it's time to consider a vacation. So, here are a few ideas to make your stepfamily vacation a success.

1.  Allow your stepchildren to be part of the planning process. If your stepchildren can offer ideas about their vacation, they will more likely play a positive role on the trip. Ask them what they would enjoy and brainstorm options that all family members can actively participate in.

2. Break some of the rules you keep at home to make the trip fun and spontaneous. The child-rearing years can be laborious and tension-filled. When you leave for vacation, bring along your sense of humor and allow your kids special privileges to break the monotony of everyday life.

For instance, when we took our first cruise with the kids a few years ago, our youngest son spotted the self-serve ice cream machine the first day. For a few days, he was only allowed to have ice cream after 12:00 and was limited to the number of times he could return to the machine. By the last day of the cruise, the rule had changed to allow ice cream at breakfast and several other times throughout the day. Ice cream for breakfast was a special treat and he fondly recalls the ice cream machine as one of the highlights of the cruise.

3. Focus on the kids. Your stepfamily vacation isn't the time to count on quality moments with your husband. That can happen on a separate trip that doesn't include the kids. For a successful stepfamily vacation, your mindset should be more about creating lasting bonds and memories. Go out of your way to make it a special time for the kids. They may not acknowledge your efforts, but will remember the time and energy you spent on family vacations when they get older.

4. Buid in down time to rest and recuperate. Vacations are meant to be relaxing. It's easy to plan  too many activities, creating stress-filled days. Allow extra time to enjoy the sunset or catch the fireflies on a lazy evening. Memories can be created just as easily without a lot of expense and fanfare.

5. Keep a positive attitude and don't expect it to go exactly as you planned. Flexibility is key to enjoying a successful trip. Plans may have to change along the way and unexpected events may occur, but that doesn't have to interrupt the atmosphere surrounding your trip.

Stepfamily vacations get easier the longer a family is together. In the beginning, it's easier to take short trips together while family members are still getting to know one another. If the vacation doesn't go well, don't give up. Stepfamily life gets better as time goes by. Vacations are one variable in that equation!

What tip can you share to help create a successful stepfamily vacation?

Related Posts:

Positive Thinking Results in Successful Stepparenting 

Expect the Unexpected on Your Stepparenting Journey

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