If you are taking a family trip this summer, you should have a great time. You can pick the location and make some memories there. Your kids can spend some time with you, and years later, they will probably remember these events fondly.
If you have younger kids, though, you might find corralling them difficult if you are in a place with some extra stimulation. Whether you’re checking out educational experiences in Pigeon Forge for families this year or heading to New York to battle the crowds in Times Square, you must discipline your kids when they need it.
You can do that without being too heavy-handed. We will discuss how right now.
You Can Fly Rather than Drive
When you are taking a family vacation this summer, you should think about your child’s age. If you have multiple children, you must consider their ages as well.
When you do, that should influence what transportation method you will take. Maybe you feel like driving since that saves you some money in most instances. If you have a hybrid vehicle or an electric one, you can do even better since you’ll either spend little on gas money or nothing at all.
However, if you drive, you might have some crabby kids in the car with you before long. If you’re going all the way across the country, that’s going to test any child’s patience, even if your kids behave extraordinarily well.
If you fly, you should do better. Maybe it costs more, but a flight that takes a short time won’t test your child’s patience like a car ride lasting twelve or fourteen hours.
Offer an Incentive that Encourages Good Behavior
Whether you drive or fly, you might tell your kids you will give them a new toy if they behave during the trip. The travel time will test their patience, whether you’re on a plane or a car. Either way, if you start by telling the kids that they will get something they want when they behave, they will keep that in mind during the vacation’s transit phase.
You might ask what each child wants. You probably won’t get them something huge, like a new video game system.
Instead, you can offer them a small toy or game. You might also tell them that you will pick something and it’s a surprise. If you do that, though, make sure you deliver something the kids like, or they’ll probably feel disappointed.
If they seem like they’re not holding up so well, or if they start fighting, you can remind them there’s something good coming their way if they can hold it together. Some psychiatrists will say that you shouldn’t bribe kids this way, but it is effective. As long as you don’t get the child something ridiculously expensive, this tactic should do no harm.
Threaten a Timeout
You should also have the dreaded timeout in your arsenal. You can implement it at almost any time. If you have a child who starts acting poorly in public, don’t let that embarrass you. You must reassert control immediately, so the child does not get their way.
You can pull the child aside and have them sit or stand in a corner for a few minutes. You can tell them you will not resume the activity, whatever it is, until they stop crying or screaming.
You may feel a little embarrassed if your child does this, but they’re testing your boundaries. They will do that throughout their childhood and into adolescence. It’s natural, but you also can’t let them take control, or you’ll have a very tough time going forward.
You’re the pack leader, and what you say should remain the law during your child’s life till they eventually become an adult and leave the house. A vacation represents a time when you can exercise your authority and practice taking control if you must.
Ideally, your kids should behave during this trip, but if they start acting out, you can pull them aside and do a timeout whenever they need one.
More Drastic Actions
If your child has disciplinary problems, you can tell them before you leave for vacation that if they don’t control themselves, you won’t give them the toy or game you promised. You can also tell them that if they act too poorly on this trip, you will immediately stop the activity you planned. You can stop the day’s events right there if necessary.
If you and the child spend time in an amusement park or some other fun location, and they act nicely throughout the day, you should have no issues. If they start acting out, you can try a timeout. You can also tell them that if they don’t stop screaming or crying, you will cut their day short.
You should not make this threat idly. You won’t like cutting the day short and spending your vacation in the hotel, but that can show the child you’re serious.
They must learn that actions have consequences. You should never strike your child since that can lead to violent behavior from them as retaliation. With that option off the table, timeouts and stopping fun activities can get your point across.
You should give your child multiple chances. You can do a couple of timeouts to see whether that calms them down. If it doesn’t, and they keep acting poorly, you can stop the activity right there.
If your child knows you’ll do that, they’ll remember it. If they act up again, you can tell them you’ll take them back to the hotel again, and then they can’t enjoy the activity you’d planned for them.
If they know you’re not bluffing, they should correct the behavior. You can’t reinforce poor child behavior, or they will run all over you every chance they get.
Bribery, timeouts, and more extreme actions can all work. Your child should soon learn you’re tough but reasonable.