Unwrapping the kids’ ultimate holiday wish list

With the school year drawing to a close and the festive season approaching, many families are gearing up for the beach, bush or berg. However, as the anticipation of a well-deserved break mounts, parents sometimes can’t help but wonder how they are going to keep their kids entertained. The key? Understanding what children really want!

So, what is it that captures their hearts? Here’s the scoop – first off, they really want to go on holiday… with you! Believe it or not, a survey conducted in the United States revealed that 43% of children would choose to go on holiday over getting traditional gifts for their birthdays. Strange but true, so move over stereotypical gifts and say hello to experiences!

But what are kids looking for on these getaways?

Shaun Lamont, managing director of First Group Hotels and Resorts, shares some ‘pearls of wisdom’ based on his dual roles as a father and hospitality industry veteran:

  • Fun activities: Keeping kids occupied 24/7 on holiday can be tough. Resorts, however, especially during peak seasons, offer planned activities tailored for kids, tweens and teens, ensuring they are entertained and engaged throughout their stay. However, if they are less inclined to join the ‘crowd’, there is generally a range of on-site facilities available to entertain them. These include putt-putt, pool tables, volleyball and tennis courts, and even bowls, squash and paddle tennis at selected resorts, to encourage some healthy family competition.
  • Quality time with parents: Contrary to popular belief, kids aren’t all about screens around the clock. In fact, many just want some fun, quality family time, especially on holiday. From little ones to teens, they’d happily swap their screen time for a family sporting activity, a splash in the pool, playing board games and building puzzles, or even hitting the trails with their parents.
  • The thrill of something new: We all know that kids are inherently curious and are always open to exploring unfamiliar territories or visiting local attractions. Whether it’s hiking up a mountain, exploring a cave, or collecting seashells, make sure you add ‘doing something new’ to your travel itinerary.
  • Flexibility: Creating a genuine holiday atmosphere involves some deviating from your normal routine and adopting a more laid-back approach. Allowing your kids to stay up a bit later to watch a movie, easing up on mealtimes, and letting each child have a chance to choose an activity or outing will add to the fun and enjoyment for them.
  • Food, food, food: Being on holiday or at home (i.e. not at school) seems to magically increase our little darlings’ appetites. One of the ways to manage this on holiday is to book self-catering accommodation and stock up on groceries for easy meals. Opt for big brunches and suppers, stock up on lots of snacks, fruit and 2-minute noodles – and don’t forget to indulge the kids with some of their favourite treats!

As the adage goes, “It’s not just about the destination; it’s about the journey,” and the moments created along the way. We all want to remember the adventures, the laughter and the experiences shared with our loved ones. So, give your children the gift of making lasting, magical memories to cherish with holidays that will linger with them long after they’re over, concludes Lamont.

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