*These were extracted from my interview with 8 Days. You can read the full interview here.
If I’m going on staycation, I will usually look out for a pool and kids facilities such as a kids club where I can dump the kids there and have some alone time for 2 hours. If there’s nothing to occupy them, they will be bored out of their wits in the room. So, make sure there are enough facilities within the hotel for them. We usually have breakfast, then let them go play, have lunch, have a nap, then they will get more playtime, or we head to the pool. After that, it’s an early dinner and then bedtime. Then it’s Mummy and Daddy’s time to go to the lounge or the bar! I’m okay with leaving my kids alone in the room since I pack the baby monitor. This way, while I’m at the hotel bar, I know what they are doing and that they are okay upstairs.
I will opt for a suite or connecting rooms. My kids go to bed quite early — they sleep at 8.30pm and wake up at 7.30am. So, once they go to bed, at least my husband and I still have space to do our own things. If it’s just a regular room, once the kids are asleep, there’s nothing else you can do.
Although families with young kids get seated first during boarding, I don’t bring the kids on until the very last minute. My husband will board first with all the stuff we need to put in the overhead compartment. I will only board the plane with the kids at the very last minute. You don’t want to strap them in for an hour before the plane takes off because they get restless.
To keep kids occupied on a flight, make sure you have enough snacks, books and the iPad for videos, which I use as a last resort. If it’s a long flight, I like to take the night flight so that they can sleep on the plane. Because my kids have an early bedtime in their regular routine, I know that if the flight is at 10pm, for example, they will be pretty sleepy by then. So, I will just give them some milk and they will sleep onboard.
That way, there will be a lot less crying and breakdowns. And even if they do break down, we know it’s due to tiredness, and not a behavioral problem. My kids wake up very early so we do the more active stuff in the morning. Just before lunch time, we make sure we are already seated at the restaurant. We try not to delay it because that’s when they get really cranky. If I know I’m still going to be out beyond the naptime of my two-year-old, I will either bring a stroller or the baby carrier so he can sleep for a bit. And while he’s sleeping, we will try to go for a not-so-active activity, something where I can sit down, and the other kids can play.
Just bring along the carrier. It’s a lot easier to handle than a stroller, which is bulky. And not a lot of countries are as child-friendly as Singapore — a lot of places don’t even have sidewalks. In the event you do need a stroller, a lot of the better hotels have strollers that you can borrow.
Target one or two, at the maximum, attractions for the day. That way, you have more time to move around between locations, and have spare time in case you can’t find a restaurant or have a toilet emergency.
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