Tips for Family Holidays

The following suggestions, which were adapted from Family Vacations That Work (LifeJourney Books) by Tim Hansel, will help your family better enjoy their leisure time:

1) Have reasonable expectations . A vacation won't make you a new person, solve all your problems, salvage your marriage, or transform your kids into angels. But a vacation can be refreshing.

2) Examine past vacations, including the disastrous ones. But don't vilify yourself. Rather, think of ways these vacations could have been improved. Carry those lessons into your next vacation.

3) Relax. Remind yourself to slow down, take it easy, not to rush. Don't hurry to be happy! You don't have to fit everything in. Don't feel guilty about taking it easy. God created rest for our enjoyment and well-being.

4) Expect obstacles. It's Murphy's Law that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, probably at the worst time. Don't give in to anger or gloom. Keep a positive attitude. Make an adventure out of mishaps. Remember, your children will imitate your behavior.

5) Eat and drink in moderation. Enjoy food. But don't make it the whole vacation. Plan to eat healthily. Take along fruit and low-calorie snacks for long drives instead of candy and chips. Fatigue, frustration, even boredom can lead to overindulgence. Remember, you don't have to eat or drink it just because it's there.

6) Get regular exer cise. Exercise will help you feel better, help keep your appetite in check, and help your digestive organs do their work. Exercise also can give adults some quiet time together. Make exercise a priority, especially if you've been traveling all day.

7) Realize that you may have difficulties with family vacations. Admitting you have difficulty is a big step in improving the situation. Rather than being an admission of defeat, it opens you up to new ways of thinking and doing.

8) Don't wait to take a vacation until you desperately need one. If you're physically and emotionally exhausted, or ill, it's impossible to fully enjoy a vacation.

— Una McManus