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Vacation Rules

by Ronald A. Rowe | July 12th, 2010 | Elementary
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We all struggle to maintain the balance between discipline and instruction on one side and letting kids be kids on the other. I think I’ve struck a balance that works for me and for my family – under normal circumstances. But what about circumstances that would best be described as abnormal, like vacation time?

Vacation, when the kids are off the clock from school, I’m off from work, and my lovely wife is enjoying having someone else do the cooking and cleaning. Everybody’s away from their normal jobs, except as parents. We’re still on the clock in our 24/7 responsibility to be good parents.

It took me several years of vacationing with children to develop a reasonable balance. We went through the “it’s vacation – anything goes” trip, which brought out the spoiled, pampered inner child in my son’s outer child. We went through the “rules are still rules” vacation, which ended up being such a tug of war that it tarnished the fun of being on vacation.

Somewhere in the middle we found that balance, where we recognize that vacation time is special time without completely abdicating all parental responsibility. There are grand teaching moments on vacation and there are reckless abandon vacation moments. There are rules that still need to be followed and there are rules that can be set on the shelf for the week.

So if you’re heading off for a vacation with the kids this summer, take the time beforehand to talk to them and set the expectations that you have for the trip. Bedtime rules may be bent almost beyond recognition, but you’ll be standing firm on the requirements to be polite and treat others properly. Whatever your relaxed vacation guidelines are, if you agree on them ahead of time you’ll be better able to act in unison as parents and enforce those rules that need enforcing and look the other way when appropriate. Do this simple thing and the vacation will be more enjoyable for everyone.

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