Can holidays with young children REALLY be stress-free?

According to a recent survey, over 65% of parents would rather face the stress of their jobs than the prospect of a family holiday.

The problem stems from the pressure of keeping children entertained all day every day during the holiday. Nearly all of the parents questioned focus their entire family holiday on making the kids happy resulting in nearly 2/3 of them becoming stressed by keeping them amused at all times and breaking up arguments.

So is it possible to really relax on a holiday with our little ones? I thought not until my perspective changed for good this summer! Our family had our first holiday since my eldest was born 8 years ago. Since having our girls, we had not been in the financial position to holiday abroad and had sadly spent our time visiting ailing parents on both sides of the globe.

Last year, I started working with Pagel. In order to be able to do my job properly, Mark felt I needed to get out there and really experience it for myself.

Although I was keen, I felt I needed to see it through my girls’ eyes to truly understand the magic that so many parents had spoken about and luckily Mark agreed. I got to work; fast-tracking passport renewals and getting organised and off we went as a family. The journey was arduous and frustrating, especially with flight delays, temperamental sat nav and bickering children. Needless to say, I was feeling incredibly apprehensive about the days that followed.

When we arrived, however, we were all blown away by the sheer beauty of our surroundings; the attention to detail in the girls’ room and the little touches for parents that just made all the difference. Can you imagine arriving at a gite in rural France with a popsicle maker in the freezer?

The beds had been made up with princess bedding (my girls’ favourite) and there was a little gift bag on each bed with each girl’s name and a little teddy inside. The girls were in seventh heaven and spent the whole trip clutching their toys and talking about “their” room. The ethos at this establishment is outdoor play and “screen-free fun” for kids. Although we had brought the girls’ tablets “just in case”, they simply weren’t taken out of their cases.

Each evening, no matter how busy our day had been, we would have dinner with the girls outside on the porch before hopping in the pool for a quick dip and then tucking them up in their cosy beds. My husband and I then were able to thoroughly enjoy a glass or two of the beautiful local Rosé on the terrace knowing that the kids would sleep well having played all day long. The local region had so much to offer but we all couldn’t wait to get back to our lovely cottage where the kids had a beautiful pool to play in, friends to play with, acres of woodland to run around in, card games, wooden toys, dolls’ houses, ride alongs, books, boules, trampolines, swing sets etc. The sheer lack of parental effort required was remarkable!

Below are some comments from our former guests:

“I never quite feel that going away with 3 young boys is a “holiday” but Pagel gets you pretty close!! Kate, William, Elliot(6), Lewis(5) & Finn(16mths)

Great family holiday! Booked our 3rd visit whilst still on our second!
#easyholiday #allaboutfamilies

So can holidays with young children really be stress-free? The answer seems to be never entirely but perhaps child-friendly holidays are actually the way forward! As they say, when the kids are happy…..!!

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