What I’ve Learnt About My Kids (& Myself) on Holiday In Portugal So Far
I’ve written a couple of these ‘What I’ve Learnt About My Kids on Holiday’ style posts before, publishing my first last year during our summer holiday in the South of France and then again on a trip to London, and they’re some of my most favourite posts to date, the ones I never fail to read again and again.
I just love how vacays or any kind of break from the norm, provide me with the time and space to not only relax, but also absorb and reflect on quite how much my kids are growing, and changing before my very eyes.
Children seem to experience some kind of accelerated growth spurt on holiday it seems. Maybe it’s down to the fact we as parents have longer periods of uninterrupted time on holiday to fully notice the changes (not juggling twenty things at once) or they do in fact mature whilst away as travelling expands little (and large) minds, broadening their horizons thanks to the gift of new culture, food and friendships. I reckon it’s a bit of both.
Holidays take kids out of their comfort zone to some extent, offering them a new lifestyle and different routine to the one back home. It’s a liberating time for us all to be honest, as the kids sleep in (yay) after going to bed later than usual and we’re all incredibly chilled out.
Below I’ve shared what I’ve learnt about my little ones.
My sons Oliver and Xander have been flying since they were babies, both going abroad at 6 months respectively, with Oliver holidaying in Cyprus and Xander, Portugal.
It was only when we flew long-haul to Jamaica two years ago that I fully realised how much my kids love to fly. Now they simply adore it.
My children relish in the excitement of being on board, favouring a window seat for the best views and enjoy their time playing with tech, cards, reading and colouring-in. Our flight out with Jet2.com and Jet2holidays was utterly brilliant, from the airport, check-in, through security and up in the air. Friendly staff, lots of leg space, a smooth flight and tasty food on board, made for a completely stress-free trip.
I reminded that flights make my kids happy. So much so, I literally cannot recall a single argument on the plane. If only this were true of life at home, hey! I need my own jet #lifegoals ;).
The Sea is Everything
This one sounds like it’s a no-brainer right, but some kids (and adults) avoid the sea due to a sand phobia and Oliver my eldest, was one of those people, just last year. We still spent time on the beach but the rigmarole of avoiding the sand was getting silly. Thankfully, he’s embraced the beach this year, and both boys have loved being by the sea. We’ve been spending lots of time at the hotel’s achingly beautiful beach, which lies at the bottom of the resort’s famous orange cliffs, jumping waves together, making sandcastles, collecting shells and pebbles, and of course, eating fresh fish al fresco. Vitamin Sea makes for one happy family, here!
We’ve been spending lots of time at the hotel’s pristine beach which lies at the bottom of the resort’s famous orange cliffs, jumping waves together, making sandcastles, collecting shells and pebbles, and of course, eating fresh fish, al fresco. Vitamin Sea makes for one happy family, here.
My Kids Sleep Better On Holiday
..And so do I. Xander, 4, loves hotel living so much, that he regularly asks me when we can move into a hotel. I think the kid’s on to something! Our huge, luxurious apartment here in the Pine Cliffs Residence has two bedrooms, a kitchen, lounge, two bathrooms with baths and showers, and our very own garden overlooking the lush golf course on site. It’s utterly dreamy, so much so, if I could afford to, and the commute was easy, I’d move us all right in and make Xander’s dreams come true. The biggest plus is the kids have slept incredibly well here thanks to all the exercise by day, walking, playing, swimming and more, and the comfiest beds ever meaning I’m always the first to wake up here!
My Kids Love Languages
Since speaking to my kids more in Greek, at home, I’ve noticed their interest in other languages has grown. As soon as we arrived at Faro airport Oliver and Xander wanted to know the Portuguese words for ‘hello’, ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and importantly, ‘ice cream’, prompting a quick Google on my part! It made me wish that I spoke more languages like my Grandfather who spoke 7, and whilst I speak Greek and French, I’ve forgotten so much of the latter because I practise it so infrequently. This holiday has prompted me to book some Greek lessons in for my kids and to revise my French! Now, where did I put my Tricolour textbook!
My Kids Are Kind
OK, I knew this already but it’s been highlighted to me during out stay away as they open doors for others, are polite and respectful to the staff here at all times, remembering their Ps and Qs and also being open to new friendships with other children despite feeling initially shy in some cases. Yes, my children often drive me mad squabbling, but on the whole, they’re good kids and they make me feel incredibly proud.
My Kids Inspire One Another
Oliver, 7, is a perfectionist truth be told, so if he feels he’s not excelling at something, he tends to abandon it, or avoid it where possible at the very least. I’m working on him though, encouraging him to persevere when the going gets tough and to not stop trying new things for therein lies growth.
That we learn from our mistakes.
I was just like him as a child (I even asked my tennis teacher on my first day, how long it would take for me to play at Wimbledon and I was only 6) but I soon learnt life is all about progress, not perfectionism Marie Forleo style (way before I started watching MF by the way).
Oliver is a super runner and even won gold at Sport’s Day but he tends to steer away from football and others sport, mostly because he’s told himself he’s not good enough. I play with him a lot (I love football and always have) and whilst Xander took to the game naturally, dribbling at 10 months (really), I’ve noticed Oliver is playing more with his brother and seems to be enjoying it. Unlike playing with his peers, he doesn’t feel he has anything to prove to Xander, has relaxed and found he likes a kick about. I hope he returns to it when he gets back home.
If he didn’t like football or any other sport, that’s fine of course (both boys love reading and drawing too and are certainly never limited in any gender-specific way) but if their own self-doubt stops them pursuing something that might be fun, I like to help them work through it, to at least give new experiences a chance.
Unlike Alexander who will try everything fearlessly, Oliver tends to be more careful and cautious but I’ve seen a change in him this holiday, following his brother’s lead he’s trying more things be it sporting activities or even food he wouldn’t eat at home like sea bass and papaya.
It’s a joy to see my sons influencing each other positively instead of arguing over the plotline of Moana which has been the running theme lately.
I think as parents, we can be tough on ourselves at times but having the time away reassures me that my husband and I are doing something right and I want to remember this on the days I doubt myself.
Buy my bestselling book in paperback or audio
My debut book is my guide to surviving and thriving at work and at home and offers insight into how to create a digital business or return to work with confidence.
Mumboss: The Honest Mum's Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work and at Home (UK 2nd Edition)