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Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 22: Rant About Something

{ascends soapbox}

Why in the world do people take their young children on vacation?  I really think that children should start being included in vacations at the age of about 10.  Before that, what are they doing other than costing you money and having temporary thrills?  Here is a prime example. You take your 4-year-old to San Diego.  Do you get to delight in exciting your small child about the beach and seashells and sandcastles? Yep. Do you get to avoid feeling any guilt about leaving him/her behind? Sure.  But really, your child has no context for his beach experience.  He doesn't KNOW he's in San Diego on any level other than assigning words to a place.  He is having fun in the water.  Great.  Tell me that child can't have the same thrills at a local pool.  I'm sorry, but you'll never convince me that your child NEEDS the San Diego experience.  I am a stepmom and walked onto the parenting scene when Alex was 6.  She went to Mexico with her mom every year, so Colby and I didn't take her on vacations when she was that little.  We figured that the kid didn't need multiple vacations, especially at that age.  We made simple trips to my parents' old house (Missouri) and to Colby's parents' house (Oklahoma).  It just made sense.  Then, in July 2010, we took Alex on her first vacation with us.  We went to Las Vegas. She was 9.  She had a great time and still remembers lots of details.  Then, in February 2011, we went to Chicago for a weekend. She was turning 10.  Again, she remembers it all.  We went to Nashville for Christmas 2012. She was 11. This summer, we are taking Alex to Colorado. She is 12.

I have expressed this sentiment to Colby. We were sunning at the local pool and I was watching a lot of tots have the best time of their lives.  I told Colby that it seems like trips to the beach at this age are just unnecessary.  Colby said, "Yeah, it's hard for a new parent to see that they don't need to pet a dolphin at SeaWorld until they are 10+. But I agree with you now that my kid is older."

Before Colby's divorce, Candy & Colby, took Alex to Disneyland (Cali), SeaWorld (San Diego), and Mexico (Cancun).  Alex can tell me one single things about those vacations.  She remembers some dolphins at SeaWorld. That's it.  {Note: she's been back to Mexico as an older child, so she could tell you more about that!} Parents, if you could fast forward 10 years and hear your child say that they don't remember Disney World, would you still take them? If the answer is yes, then fine. You must want their company for your personal enjoyment.  But if the idea is to provide them with an experience, wait until they are about 10. Then go nuts. Show them everything you can!

I must add a note that if you are going to see family, then this entire rant doesn't apply!

I think parents take their young children on vacations because it's their one and only parenting experience and the concept of a "family vacation" is very much the parenting dream.  I also think that these parents don't see that childhoods are a long haul and you will even be able to vacation with your adult child in later years.

Being a parent on the later end of things has really given me some insight into how to have a vacation strategy for your children. Ages 1-10, go on vacations as a couple. I'm sure Grandma would love some cuddle time with the kiddies. Ages 10+, go nuts.

{descends soapbox}


  1. Totally agree. Rick's dad wants to take the kids to Disneyworld when Peyton is 7, the boys are 5, and Lucy is 2. I'm not going to turn down a free trip to DW, but it seems to me if you're going to shell out enough money to take THE WHOLE family, you ought to do it when they can remember it.

  2. You're right. It is totally for the enjoyment of the parent and not the kid. I've struggled with not taking Lincoln to Ireland with us, not because I'm afraid of what he'll miss out of but because I know how much I'll miss him.