|What makes a perfect holiday for your family?|
This week I received a message from a Mum, saying that she and her family had just had their first holiday abroad, something they only thought possible with their toddler with Down's syndrome after reading about our adventures as a family.
When Natty was born I remember thinking that would be an end to family holidays, trips to the beach even. It was a ridiculous notion, and we have spent a lot of time proving ourselves wrong!
As half term approaches we are packing for a return trip to our favourite resort. But what makes us return to the same place time and time again?
|What's the winning formula for a family holiday?|
After a quick chat with my husband we unanimously agreed:
- Without a doubt the first consideration for us is access to quality healthcare should we need it. There must be a good clinic/hospital nearby in case one of the children fell ill.
- Secondly, direct flights of a length your child can cope with are a must. Other families manage, but I cannot begin to think about long haul flights with changes and long waits at airports en route.
- The next most important factor is quality, flexible childcare and kids' clubs that make the children feel every bit as special as we adults. Only when they are having an amazing time, and, more importantly, we know that they are safe and secure and cared for are we able to relax and unwind. The grounds and accommodation must be safe and the children secure at all times and it is a rare holiday gem that brings this level of peace of mind in my experience.
In Jamaica, where there are a team of wonderful women who seem more like aunties than kids' club organisers. Instead of being over-scheduled, they to do whatever the children want, whenever they want, whether that is jewellery making, collecting shells, swimming, weaving a basket or tie dye T shirt, playing on the beach with their parents or taking a golf buggy trip around the grounds looking for birds or to fetch an ice-cream. They are never confined to a kids club house as some resorts and hotels do.
The flexibility means that we can spend family time together when the children want to and they can be more active if we want a snooze (or a Margherita!). We can eat together or they can eat by themselves. There is nothing less relaxing than a kids' club that shuts for lunch, as parents end up clock watching.
- Having a child with additional needs, finding a hotel that doesn’t bat an eyelid at this is also key to my relaxation. Even when Natty was younger, prone to running off, needing help with feeding and in nappies, I felt utterly confident that she was in more than capable hands.The accommodation must be safe and secure.
- And finally, we'll be chatting, playing games together, taking precious photos, walking, talking, sleeping and 'just being'. We need a quiet enough location that allows us the time and space to do this.
So what makes the perfect family holiday for you? What's the deciding factor when you book? What makes everyone happy in your clan?