So, you’ve booked a stay at a water park resort for you and your family. Now you get to be the hero and kick back in the hot tub as the kids wear themselves out on countless trips down winding body slides. Right?
Not really. There are many resorts that specialize in keeping kids busy for days – if not weeks. Unfortunately, simply throwing a mind-boggling number of activities at a kid is no guarantee of a happy and harmonious vacation. For that, you need some good old-fashioned parenting as well. Here are some tips to make sure your getaway with youngsters goes as smoothly as possible.
Guard Against Mishaps
First priority is always to make sure everyone stays safe. Rides are built with safety in mind (think of the lawsuits if they weren’t!), but there are still plenty of ways for kids to get injured or sick if they’re not careful. Make sure young kids are supervised at all times – by a parent or older sibling, not a lifeguard – and be aware of some of the common dangers of water parks.
Stay Someplace with Great Indoor Facilities
If it’s a winter getaway, then you’re likely already booking a resort with enough indoor attractions to keep everyone entertained throughout your stay. But even if you’re vacationing during warmer months, you might want to have a backup plan just in case Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. That is, unless you like the idea of being stuck in a hotel room with bored kids while the rain comes down in sheets outside. Most resorts have at least some indoor facilities, but not all are created equal.
Ride With Your Kids
Even if you’re not the daring type, you should plan at least a few trips down the slides with your kids (more if your child doesn’t have friends or siblings along to frolic with). If your children are younger, they may actually need you along to go down some of the more exciting rides. In any case, the idea behind a family vacation is to spend quality time together, and nothing spells quality like getting soaked as you barrel through a tube at 30 mph.
Keep Food Handy
Every parent knows that hunger is one of the leading causes of crankiness in children. Because they’re excited and burning lots of calories, kids may not even realize how hungry they are… until it’s too late (cue the ominous music). You can potentially reduce misbehavior by planning your meals – and snacks – well in advance. Of course, there are plenty of food options at the average water park resort, but too often it’s overpriced theme park fare. By planning ahead, you can avoid hunger tantrums and junk food bellyaches.
Schedule Down Time
In addition to the water-based attractions, many water park resorts feature arcades, eateries, shops, mini-golf, go-karts, and all sorts of other activities – most of which your child will probably want to do on the first day you’re there. To keep kids from getting worn down (another leading cause of crankiness), try to parcel out the activities over the course of your stay. If you’ve got young children, you might want to encourage them to take an afternoon nap – even if they don’t normally do so at home. Also, go easy on those early morning activities, as overstimulated youngsters may have a tough time getting to sleep at night and may need the extra rest.