The first post in this series, we talked about how you can let everyone partake in the planning for your Disney World trip. Today, we are looking at what you can do to make your prep work for the big vacation MAGICAL and as low stress as possible. Yep, today we are talking logistics for leaving to see the mouse! These are the details that everyone dreads...you know, packing, making sure you have everything for the parks, keeping the kids on track, etc. Basically, any and everything "not so magical" about your trip. Let's get down to business!
Delegate is not a bad word!
When you are taking a family trip, why not make it a family effort. The first step in this idea is to realize that Mom and Dad shouldn't do it all! My Mom and Dad taught me this from an early age and I am SO thankful for that! Now, I'm not saying you should have your 10 year old responsible for EVERYTHING! I am talking small chunks of responsibility, and yes, I am talking about a piece of responsibility for everyone in your family! When you delegate responsibilities, you start your vacation off on the best foot!
Responsibilities for younger children (4 and younger)
Never underestimate the power of a a toddler! I'll go ahead and put it out there that babies, can pretty much help you with packing during their nap time or while they are occupied otherwise by an older sibling (see below if you have a baby and an older sibling!). Toddlers and pre-k kids LOVE to help! I have a 2 1/2 year old nephew that is an awesome helper. He could totally handle simple jobs and be a HUGE help to a parent who would otherwise be doing it all alone.
Responsibilities a 2-4 year old could handle
- being a good room cleaner (if that is something that bugs you before leaving for a trip). Toddlers and pre-k kids LOVE helping to clean. Why not ask them to clean up the play room or their bedroom. The plus side to this is that while they clean, you can get things in order for the trip!
- being a toy packer. Bring in the math fun here and limit them to 3 favorite toys (without messing up room).
- being a messenger to relay important information to other family members.
- being a loader. I love the idea of having your little one help load the suitcase, car, carry-on. This is all with support from you (in the form of here, "put this in the suitcase" or "why don't you help Mommy by carrying this pillow to the car").
- being a counter. With support, your toddler or pre-k can help you count people, bags, and more. I like this because you can utilize and honor their knowledge!
Things to remember
- Praise their hard work and effort!
- Offer support!
- Remind them how important they are to the family and this trip!
Responsibilities for children (5-12 year olds)
An involved child is a child on a mission. Think of the problems and distractions you can avoid when everyone is working hard! I just love the Easter story The Country Bunny and the Little Golden Shoes. It is a story about a hard working country bunny who is written off her whole life as a country bunny who can't be the Easter Bunny because she's gone and had a houseful of babies. She's a good Mama and raises her bunnies to aid her in the work around the house and she's very loving. The story takes a turn when Grandfather bunny chooses her to be the next Easter Bunny after seeing how smart and kind she is. You should read it. That is what comes to mind when I think of this idea of delegation! Let's see how 5-10 year olds can help out in prep for the big vacation!
Responsibilities for 5-10 year olds
- Pre-packing. By this I mean you give them either a list or a visual list (pictures of what to pack and have them lay them out for you to check over). This will save you so much time! All you have to do is check over the items and have them load them into the suitcase!
- Car loader. Simple as it sounds, their job is to take things out to the car to be loaded.
- Babysitter. You can get a lot more done when someone else is watching your little one! Big brothers and sisters are such a blessing when it comes to getting what you need to get done!
- Clean. Just like in the 2-4 year old section, 5-10 year olds can lend a hand cleaning their rooms/playrooms and more! Why not get them to help clean out the family van for that long trip (if you are driving).
- Ride/Flight fun. I would love to have a gaggle of kids someday! I use to love planning car fun (there were just too many of us to afford flying). Have your kids get together to plan entertainment for the trip! From bags full of entertainment (check out this blast from the past called: the ride is in the bag!) to ideas for games and movies to watch, your 5-10 year old will be "on it!"
- List keeper. I love the idea of giving 5-10 year olds the responsibility of keeping a personal copy of lists for packing, time in the parks, be creative! They love that sense of responsibility!
Things to remember:
- Responsibility creates such a great family culture which parlays into a great trip!
- Have a little faith! Faith in their abilities goes a long way!
- Say these two words: "thank you"
- Set your expectations high...they'll deliver!
Teen buy in is a crucial building block in the Disney equation. If they buy in, there will be a HUGE reward! I feel like the magic of Disney will take over your teenager and the fun will be over the top! I am not a parent yet but, I say that you might even be able to convince your teenager to stick it out with the group for the trip if they feel like they have a place in it all! At the very least, they could earn a little time away from the group. I mean really, do you want to die on that mountain...ask me that again in about 20 years...I might answer differently!
- Pack their own stuff (offering to check over if they'd like)
- Clean up their room
- Have them help you make dining reservations
- Online Check in (print out to give to you before leaving)
- Route research (let them use an app...they love that kind of stuff)
- Instagramer for the trip
- Vlog the trip
- Time keeper
- Let them pick their seat for the ride first
Things to remember:
- Give them a bit of room. Don't hover to much instead, give some deadlines (room clean by X , pack by X). It might work out in the long run to award them with minutes for "free time" in the parks with each item they complete. I feel like Disney World is a pretty safe place and splitting up especially when they are a within phones reach and of age. Why not get the prep work done with minimal complaining and 100% effort by offering them some park time to themselves?
- Respect their input (using your discernment). If they suggest something give them credit and if it is doable and makes sense...honor them! If they suggest packing snacks for the ride...do it! If they suggest a restaurant on the way down...do it! You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar right?
- Think before you act!
- Love them!
Responsibilities for the grown ups:
Of course you have responsibilities! Welcome to the real world! What are some responsibilities you'll have. Well, a lot are common sense. Here are a few!
- Book your vacation
- Pay for vacation
- Make dining reservations or figure out eating in the parks
- Get to Disney (drive/fly)
- Plans for the parks
- Making sure the house/pets will be cared for
Why not utilize the whole family rather than take each family member's load on your shoulders? I hope you found some of these suggestions to be helpful. Maybe you've never thought to include everyone and by the time you are in route you are exhausted! I hope you'll try these out on your next trip! Remember DELEGATION helps avoid FRUSTRATION!