‘MOM! I HAD IT FIRST!’
‘BUT SHE WASN’T USING IT!’
‘YES, I WAS. MOOOOM. HE WON’T GIVE IT BACK.’
‘FINDERS KEEPERS! MOOOOOOOOOM!’
…the chorus line of every family car ride, road trip, plane delay, rain day and holiday stay known to mankind. If it’s not fighting over the possession-du-jour, it’s a barrage of I’M BORED, CAN WE STOP FOR A SNACK, I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM and, the dreaded, ARE WE THERE YET? Family holiday time can be intense. Without the routine and distractions of every day, interactions can take on a whole new dimension. Heated discussions in enclosed spaces can get NOISY. Finding a way to incorporate everyone’s holiday wishes into a short time frame can be next to impossible, and we all how stressful the simple act of navigation can be!
All that said, family travel is stuff memories are made of. We need only reflect on our own childhood for a moment before recalling days spent at the beach with siblings, those road trips full of surprises or that time Dad tried the extra spicy beans in Mexico! Luckily for the next generation of budding jet setters, a new trend is sweeping the nation–one guaranteed to increase the P and Q quota of even the toughest family crowd. It’s called…travelling with other people’s kids (OPK’s).
Here are a few reasons we recommend NOT going nuclear for your next family vacation…
1| OPK’s free up a bit of adult time
Most parents of school-age kids have already learned the joys of playdates. The introduction of a willing playmate to the mix is more often than not a recipe for some much-needed time to get things done around the house sans interruption. The same applies to travel. As fun as it may be to indulge in a rousing 20 minutes of I SPY or sandcastle-making with your kids, it can also be helpful to share the love with OPK’s while you and your partner talk house renovations or while you tuck into your favourite beach read.
2| OPK’s stop the family feuding
There’s no way quite as simple to shake up a scrappy family dynamic as to introduce a new face. Kids (parents too) often save the better angels of their nature for friends. Think of that OPK in the back seat as kind of a hall monitor that keeps everyone’s behaviour in check.
3| OPK’s combat boredom
Holiday time can stretch long and lazy! Whether it’s a long car ride or an entire day spent soaking up the sun and sand, there’s no denying that vacations tend to slow down the pace of life. For busy parents, this is a necessary function of getting away and, while kids can undoubtedly benefit, they tend to have shorter attention spans. The introduction of OPK’s to your holiday endeavour is a sure-fire way to spice up those times where the minutes can feel like hours.
4| With any luck, your child will get the opportunity to travel with OKP’s (other kids’ parents)
As they say, you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours! After enjoying the benefits of travelling with OPK’s, there’s always the chance that OKP’s will offer to reciprocate. Of course, you will have relayed the joys and successes of your non-nuclear family holiday, inspiring others to take the plunge. If all goes as planned, your son or daughter will have a one-of-a-kind chance to experience holiday time with another family, and you will have a little less noise in your house!
5| OPK’s have parents
DING DING DING! There’s more than one way to travel with other people’s kids. Why not consider a multi-family endeavour?! There are a whole host of potential perks. Think mixing up travel companions, the opportunity to divide kids who want to pursue different activities and tag-team BABYSITTING! Everyone stands to benefit.
Family holiday time is precious, and it can be daunting to stray from the nuclear arrangements one is used to, but we encourage you and yours to shake things up a bit for your next vacation! Travelling with other people’s kids is one travel trend that we think is here for the long haul.