You have dreamt of taking a beach vacation with kids since the first time you saw your neighbor’s family photos on Facebook. The photos featured her beautiful family standing on a pristine, white sand beach. The family was dressed in white, and the ocean was dressed in turquoise.
You have imagined your children frolicking in the sand, splashing in the waves, and building sandcastles. You never guessed there would be a medical emergency. You didn’t think your children would become lost in the resort. While imagining your dream vacation, you never thought the worst would happen.
You have been looking forward to your vacation for months. You have saved money, took days off work, boarded the dog, asked a neighbor to water your plants, and packed for yourself, your kids, and maybe even your spouse. But did you talk to your children about safety? Did you tell them what to do if they became separated from you or your spouse?
Here are safety tips to share with kids as you head to a beach or a resort this summer.
Make sure your kids know their personal information.
Your children should know their first and last name, your first and last name, and your cell phone number. If your tyke is too little or unable to remember such information, you may consider investing in an ID bracelet for them to wear while on your trip.
Parents have also been known to write down this information on a notecard that they tuck inside the shoe of the child. If you are traveling to a non-English speaking country, translate the data into the language that will be easily understood.
Teach your child to seek help from a woman working at the resort.
Some parents may tell their children to go to a meet-up spot in case they get separated from the adults. Finding that meet-up spot may be next to impossible in a large resort, where one pool looks the same as the rest.
Instead, instruct your child not to wander farther away. Tell them to find a group of adult women who work at the hotel or resort. (Show your children the clothing or nametags that verify employees.) Tell them to ask the women for help.
If there are no employees in the immediate vicinity, teach your child to seek the help of a mother with a group of children or a father with children.
Teach Your Kids to Say “Not My Parent”
Unfortunately, children have been known to throw fits, even on vacation. Especially on vacation. It may be hard to tell when a child is having a tantrum as opposed to when a child is in trouble.
Instead of having your child scream for “help,” teach them to scream, “this isn’t my mom (or dad).” Hopefully, strangers will understand then that the child really is in harm’s way instead of just acting like a jerk.
Teach Your Kid to Shout in Bathrooms
As parents, sometimes we find ourselves in the tricky situation of having to take our children of the opposite gender to the bathroom. Luckily, many places these days have family bathrooms. If you are traveling to an area with gendered, busy bathrooms, and you don’t feel comfortable taking your older child/pre-teen into the bathroom with you, teach your child to go into the bathroom and immediately yell back “I’m ok, Dad!”
If your child is too embarrassed to “make a scene,” open the door an inch and ask if they are ok. Your child will be embarrassed either way. You may be embarrassed as well. Being a parent means that you need to get used to being embarrassed in public. And who cares? Are you worried about a stranger judging you because you are taking care of your kids?
Communicate Clearly with the Other Adults in Your Party
Sure vacations are times to relax and unwind, but when you are a parent, you can’t unwind that much. That’s a cold, hard fact.
If you are traveling with other adults, make sure you communicate very clearly who is in charge of what children at what times. If your traveling companion has had too many Bahama Mammas and is not able to act responsibly, then know it is up to you to do so.
If you are taking one child to the bathroom and leaving the other with your spouse by the pool, make sure your spouse completely understands your intentions before you go.
Have a fantastic vacation with your family and stay safe.
*This family travel article was contributed by Emma Johnson from Beaches All Inclusive Resorts*