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People often tell me when they return from vacation, they are exhausted.  They wish they had another week at home just to rest up.  Why is that?  

The interesting thing about vacation is we tend to forget “everyone” wants to be on vacation.  We want to turf out our normal daily role and sit out near the water with a glass of wine or beer.  If only we had a private chef, personal assistant, and babysitter to render us into relaxation.  The reality is these parent duties never entirely go away.   

We could, of course, divide the chores up so everyone can get into vacation mode faster, however the elements that can spoil a vacation in a heartbeat (more so than at home) is a rigid timeline, pouting, resistance to doing what you want them to do, and an assumption everyone can read your mind. 

To work around these spoilers, here are a few tips you can use when you see someone who is agitated or unusually quiet (even you):

  1. Check in with them.  What are they feeling and why?  Get it out in the open and don’t allow those emotions to fester.  Find out what’s happening and troubling them.
  2. Pinpoint how they are truly feeling because every emotion comes with a different energy.   For example, feeling angry, irritable, or disappointed all sound and “feel” different.  Based on the emotions, this will ultimately influence how a person will act/react.  Again, drill down to what they are really feeling.
  3. Not sharing how one is feeling will leave people wondering and second guessing why they are acting the way they are.   Be willing to share, and encourage others to do the same.
  4. What do they need and why?  What do you need and why?  Be an active listener and let empathy be your guide.  
  5. An important piece to empathy is addressing the “why” in conversations.  In your attempt to get your kids to do something, a typical response from them would be “why do I have to?”  A parent response is usually “because”.  Sharing the why especially with children will create a sense of understanding when it comes to problem solving, decision making, and consequences.

As you plan for your get away, remember to pack your emotional intelligence with you.  Try a different approach by checking in with them, conveying your own thoughts and feelings, and of course the why.

Use vacation moments to experience a renewed connection with your family and return refreshed and rejuvenated.     

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