June 14, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
June 14, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Are We There Yet?

Family vacations are a time for building memories, filling albums and creating bonding experiences for the entire family. It is meant to be a time to get away from it all and have a fun, relaxing occasion. Many families, however, find that the vacation is rarely all that they were expecting and more frequently filled with unexpected, and unwanted, “surprises.” Everything from lost luggage, sibling bickering, carsickness, long lines and unmet expectations, the vacation is the perfect setup for frustration, aggravation and stress. Not OUR vacations, of course, those are perfect.

Over the years, we have come up with some suggestions to make vacations more fun for the entire family. First of all, if you are taking a long trip such as a long car ride, road trip or a long airplane ride, fill your children’s backpack with some surprises for them for the trip. Do not allow them to see their packs until you are on your way. For a younger child, a couple of new age appropriate toys that pack well and one or two of their favorites will help for the long trip. (Maybe save a toy or two to surprise them with for the way home since most children are more excited for the vacation than they are for the return home.) Don’t forget to pack a few snacks and a drink that your child can control on his or her own.

Activities such as coloring books, reusable stickers, Magnadoodle or Etch-a-Sketch boards, and other small toys suitable for traveling are great commodities to add to your packing prep. Cards and games that come in their own containers are also great for travel as they provide easy clean-up.

Parents, spend a little bit of time being creative and you will not believe how thrilled your children will be with their activities. A little bit of advance preparation can help provide a fun-filled vacation for parents and children.

When the family has a member with special needs, however, the entire vacation experience is different. Whether the family member has physical limitations that are obvious and require equipment, or physical challenges that may not be obvious or other difficulties that are not strictly physical, the vacation now takes on a whole new meaning and the planning needs have changed.

One thing that families of children with special needs should be aware of is that most amusement parks and other vacation spots have accommodations to help make their vacations smoother and more enjoyable. In most amusement parks or other vacation hotspots, with a letter from your doctor or therapist, you can obtain a pass to allow your family to move to the front of the line in parks or sit in specific areas during shows. You will need to do your homework as these regulations are changing all of the time. For example, Disney Parks are notorious for their accommodations for individuals with special needs. At this time, however, they are undergoing changes to their policies and are following more of a “fastpass” type of ticket instead of a “no-line” policy. Before you make your reservations, go online and do your research so you are well educated in making appropriate decisions.

Remember, regardless of your family’s specific situation, spending a little extra time before your trip preparing can help you build those magical memories you are looking for. Making sure your luggage makes it to the other side? Sorry, we have no tips for that.

Alyssa Colton MA, OTR and Aviva Lipner MA, OTR are pediatric occupational therapists and owners of Kids’ Therapy Place, LLC. You can find great toys and games at Kids’ Therapy Toy Store info_kidstplace.com

By Alyssa Colton MA, OTR/L And Aviva Lipner MA, OTR/L

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles