Take the stress out of family outings
It seemed like a good idea at the time – but somehow that family day trip you’ve been looking forward to for months has turned into the day from hell with tears, tantrums and shouting matches.
Spending time together as a family is a great way to build memories and bring everyone closer, but as most parents know a family day out can also be a flashpoint for couples leading stressful lives.
Ann Corrigan, founder of Clarity Family Law in Gerrards Cross, who is also a trained mediator and helps separating couples to agree on important issues, shares some tips for taking the stress out of your next family day out.
Preparation is key:
If you’re not going to plan, you’re asking for trouble. No matter how busy you are, you have to make time to plan your trip. Starting with the route, mode of transport, best places for pit stops, parking and buying tickets in advance online. The less you leave to chance the better.
Top tip: The NCP app is great for finding the nearest parking place and helping you remember where you left the car.
Make everyone feel as if they have a say in how the day is going to pan out. That way, there’ll be less temptation to blame each other or feel resentful. Plan together, compromise and try to accommodate everyone’s wishes in some way – even keep a chart and put it up on the wall.
Keep a lid on it:
Arguments are part of normal family life – but try to prevent them from escalating. Focus on breathing slowly and deeply and counting to a 100 before you react. Set an example for the children and distract them with music, games and discussions about what they’re looking forward to most.
Finances are often a flashpoint for couples. Avoid arguments over money by agreeing a budget before you leave the house. Try to strike a balance and compromise – perhaps you can take a picnic but enjoy a take-away meal after your day out – because you may be too exhausted to want to cook.
In our minds, family outings are often all roses and rainbows. We imagine the perfect day laughing and taking fun pictures. But the reality is that most family outings have their fair share of arguments, crying babies, and tantrums. Have reasonable expectations. Just because you’re away from home, doesn’t mean every family member is going to turn into a saint.
Manage yourself and stay calm:
The children will take their cue from you – and they depend on you to regulate their environment and moods. Be calm – practice mindfulness by breathing slowly and deeply and focusing on the moment – enjoy yourself.
There is nothing more stressful (for everyone involved) than trying to fit in work emails or phone calls into a family day out. Plan ahead so that you can avoid this and focus on your family.
Ann Corrigan is the founder of Clarity Family Law – a specialist family law firm in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire
Are you feeling overwhelmed by a relationship breakdown? Are you lost in legal jargon and struggling to think straight? Does the thought of going to court terrify you? Do you want a quicker, friendlier solution?
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