Saturday, January 14, 2012

How to plan a vacation for your blended family

Winter is dragging on, and it’s time to plan a summer vacation for your blended family. You and your new spouse have some decisions to make, and the enjoyment of your new step family is in your hands. Have you considered taking your new blended family on a driving trip across the country? Well, maybe that isn’t the best idea! Your spouse may suggest separate vacations, but that certainly isn’t the answer.

Keep it basic
Is taking a trip across the United States really that bad of an idea? Well, not necessarily. If your blended or step family was created a few years ago, the kids are young, or you own a large motor home, then it may actually be a pretty cool idea. However, if you are a newly created blended family, I wouldn’t recommend it. A trip like that would require a lot of patience in an enclosed space, which may be asking for too much that soon. I would wait at least a full year before attempting a trip like that.

Be fair
Separate vacations aren’t necessarily wrong either, but just a bit tough to pull off. When you create a blended family, the kids and step kids will be looking to see if anyone is treated differently by their step mom or step dad. It is important to maintain a sense of fairness to everyone. There are very few circumstances where separate vacations should be considered for your step family. Here are two of the rare occasions where it may be acceptable.

If the kids have widely varied ages, then their school break times could be very different. In this case, it may be acceptable to take kids on vacation in groups, at different times.
You might want to offer a vacation to an individual child, in celebration for an accomplishment of some sort. That is a nice idea but just remember that the other kids and step kids in your blended family will be expecting the same treatment.

Keep it brief
The ideal blended family vacation is a weekend getaway. However, up to four days would be acceptable. Your first excursion as a family will be a test as you get to know everyone. Close quarters for an extended period should wait until the second or third vacation.

A few possible trips are:
·         A weekend trip to the mountains
·         A weekend at a beach resort
·         A weekend in a historical city, such as Washington D.C.
·         A short cruise (three or four nights max)

Lastly, get some great pictures and video of your getaway. Have the blended family choose their favorite photo to be displayed on the wall, and the rest can go into a special family album. For more ideas and information on how to better manage your blended family, The Blended and Step Family Resource Center is ready to provide useful resources including coaching and counseling services aimed at helping blended families work.

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