Parenthood is an endurance event and the key to success is good preparation. The event which tests this theory is the family trip to a theme park. A day that promises so much fun for the whole family. However, without the proper preparation it can spiral into a day of tantrums and spectacular meltdowns (that’s just the parents!). Very quickly a day that promised so much has turned into a nightmare.
Don’t end the day with: ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time’.
You may not be able to control the weather or crowds at these venues but there are some simple steps you can take to prepare for the’ big day out’
It’s all about comfort and fashion plays second fiddle on this occasion. Also make sure your clothes protect you from the sun.
Be Sun Smart.
Be sure to wear a hat and put sunscreen on BEFORE you leave home. In the excitement and/or stress of arriving at the park you may forget to apply sunscreen. Sun-stroke and sun-burn are painful.
Pack your bag the night before.
The night before pack your backpack with the essentials and then double-check in the morning. Make sure you have plenty of sunscreen, water, hats and a sun umbrella. I don’t care if I look like a granny!! Queuing up for long stretches in the sun is my version of hell! The umbrella provides you and your child with some shade.
Bring your own food and drinks. Pack fruit, sandwiches, snacks and drinks that can be kept cool with a cold pack. The food at these places is over-priced and rubbish. Once we paid $43 for three post-mix drinks, hot chips and one small burger. Also good food helps to regulate your kids sugar-levels which hopefully results in fewer tantrums. However, we usually have cash to treat our kids to an ice-cream.
Don’t forget the most important meal of the day!
Breakfast is really important. Don’t let this be overlooked in the excitement and craziness of the approaching day. Kids and parents should never arrive at a theme park hungry as this just results in crankiness. Load you and your kids up on a really big carbo-loaded breakfast. A full cooked English breakfast is pretty hearty. We also have our kids eat a piece of fruit and drink a cold bottle of water while driving to the park.
Remember that it’s going to be a long day and your darlings WILL have melt-downs. Take deep calming breaths and try to keep your cool. Repeat the mantra: ‘It’s just for one day’.
At the end of the day, your kids will have formed good childhood memories. Also remember: ‘What comes around goes around‘. One day your kids will be taking their kids to these theme parks and will inevitably experience the same challenges. Just remember to politely decline their invitation when they ask you to accompany them on their big day out!
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