About now, there’s a plethora of advice on the best holiday destinations with children, from Aldeburgh to Zanzibar. While I haven’t taken my brood to all of these places, I’ve ratcheted up enough child miles to feel able to share some essential tips.
1 When it comes to earplugs, Boules Quies are the best bet. You might consider giving them to the passengers next to you as well. On his first transatlantic flight, one of my little darlings yelled “Not fleepy! Not fleepy!” for six and a half hours solid, before finally nodding off from exhaustion on landing.
2 Have two versions of whichever cuddle toy your child can’t live without. Otherwise, as sure as eggs is eggs, it will get lost as soon as you arrive, resulting in expensive daily journeys back to the airport to see if it’s been handed in.
3 Take plenty of footwear, just in case one child throws his sibling’s shoes into a stream. May as well take plenty of clothes too, in case it’s a whole child that gets shoved into the water.
4 Pack all the medicines you might possibly need and – this is the really vital bit – keep all of them out of reach of your children once you get to your accommodation.
5 Ditto take (and use) twice as much sunscreen as you think necessary.
6 If it’s a bucket-and-spade holiday, why not choose a sturdy spade? I wish I had when one of mine bellowed on a wide deserted beach “The poo’s come back into my bum again and this time it’s not going away!”
7 Keep a few coins handy. You never know when, or where, a milk tooth might fall out, and I don’t think the Tooth Fairy does MasterCard.
8 Allow your children to bring back the treasure they collect on holiday, be it seashells, driftwood, or empty crisp packets because there are special tokens on the back.
9 Some children like to write what they did on holiday, a lovely quiet activity that’s also useful preparation for the inevitable school assignment in September. Here’s my tip: make sure they jot down more than just Then Mummy had another bottle of wine.
10 Take plenty of photos before they grow up too much. In no time at all, these will be the good old days.