Summer vacation doesn’t need to be pricey to be meaningful

ORLANDO, Fla. — Can you believe it’s June? The kids are out of school, summer’s in full swing, and vacation season is upon us.

For many of us Traditional Moms with full-time jobs outside the home, it also can become a season of panic.

Who’s going to watch the kids while I’m at work?

How am I going to afford a vacation this year?

Where would we go and what would we do?

Well … I’m not sure I can provide too many answers on the childcare front, but I can offer a couple of tips for the vacation time.

Keep in mind that studies and polls have shown that it’s typically not the big, fancy, and expensive events from our childhood that we tend to remember as we grow older. It’s those simpler times we spend as a family, making memories and creating traditions, which stay with us over time.

– Plan a family picnic night in the backyard. Make sure to have a ball or Frisbee to toss around.

– Check local theaters for their free summer kids’ movies or local bowling alleys for free summer bowling schedules. Schedule a few hours or a day off work to take your kids to a show or to the lanes. It’s amazing how kids remember the time you take from work to spend special time with them.

– Schedule a “staycation” (I’ve seen that word a number of times this year and just love it!) with the family. Take your week (or two) vacation from work and plan fun games and activities around your community that don’t cost a lot, but will be rich with memories.

Now, of course, if you’re able to do so, “real,” take-a-trip-away-from-home vacation can be great!

In fact, I must confess that I’m writing this blog from one of the most magical places on earth – Walt Disney World. And – as exciting of a place as it is for us – the real magic still comes from the fact that I’m spending time with my family.

This particular trip has been my oldest son and I with my sister and her son. We’ve had a great time. But even with all the excitement that Disney can hold, I think one of the most memorable things for the boys will be that we sat around the kitchen table and played card and dice games together. Nothing fancy or theme-park filled, but just simple time together. When they grow up and take their kids on vacation, I hope they remember to take that time to enjoy their families.

OK, now to send everyone on their way with a tangible tradition-making plan, here’s one of my favorite ideas.

No matter what you do this year – a vacation, a staycation, or just a few select days of quality family time together, find the opportunity to write the year on something in your surroundings and take one picture with the year (and the family) in it to remember the magic of your time together.

Going to the beach? Write the year in the sand and snap the photo.

Going camping in the woods? Find sticks, rocks, and leaves to form into the year.

Going to Walt Disney World? Have someone hold up a paper with the year written on it outside your hotel or a park.

Year after year, take the snapshot and save them in an album. The memories will truly last a lifetime.



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