The nation’s capitals
If you live in one of the country’s major capitals or tourist destinations there is a host of things you can do with your family on a staycation. Chances are that you don’t have much time to enjoy them on the average weekend. A staycation allows you to see your home town through the eyes of a newcomer. If you live in a smaller town or city, you can still have a fun-filled and relaxing holiday – it just takes a bit of planning.
Start researching as soon as you know when you’ll take your break and you’ll find there are all manners of activities going on in your area.
Before your vacation starts:
Make like a tourist
Make a list of activities that you think your family would enjoy, that are within your budget (and sanity level) and that you are genuinely prepared to follow through with. Ask each of your children to choose one that they really want to do. This way, everyone gets to do one ‘major’ thing – be that a long bike ride, a picnic at the waterfall, a trip to the movies or the Mint, etc.
Plan your week
Write a list of everything you want to do – more than you can do – then plot your week. Aim to have a quieter day following a really active day. Consider whether you’ll be ‘at home’ to social phone calls and emails, and think about whether you want to impose an ‘electronics ban’ during the hours of 9am-4pm, for example. Get them on board with the idea in advance and politely remind them. (If rain stops play you might need to loosen those restrictions – or you could put your gumboots and raincoat on and take off into the great outdoors.)
A pyjama day (movies, PJs, down time) is always a fun way to start the holidays and give everyone a break – but don’t be tempted into doing more than one … otherwise you’ll find the days get away from you and you fall into your usual at-home habits. You have to be strict with yourself – this is a holiday for you too.
Plan plenty of outdoor time – picnics and bushwalks are fun and easy wins with kids. They might fuss at the idea of a ‘boring’ walk, but once you get amongst it they’ll have a blast. If you’re heading to inland water you can feed the ducks, take a board or inflatable and get out on the water – maybe build a fire and roast marshmallows. Take a selection of outdoor games and you’ll be there for hours.
Aim for a few late nights, with torchlight walks or an open-air movie. If the weather is good, consider pitching a tent in your backyard – your kids will love you for it. Let the kids have ‘sleepovers’ in each other’s rooms – or let them build a fort and sleep in the loungeroom (just be sure to set the boundaries about when it needs to be removed, etc.).