Making summer a vacation - FOX 32 News Chicago

Making summer a vacation

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

By Elizabeth Lombardo

I once heard a joke:

Question: "What's the difference between a vacation and a trip?"

Answer: "You bring kids on a trip."

Of course you love your kids.

And, sure, having children with you as you go somewhere this summer may make things more complex.

The good news is that you can enjoy some fun time.

Here are five tips to making the most out of a family vacation:

  1. Focus on fun not the "perfect" getaway: Sure, you want to schedule fun events. You also want to be flexible when changes arise. Weather, establishments, children and even spouses do not always do what you want them to. So, try to be like a river and go-with-the-flow.
  2. Don't let sleep slip away: Recent research ( finds that not getting enough sleep can affect children in the long-term, not to mention make them more irritable. Make sure they get their sleep. And get some fun time for you and your spouse while the kids are sleeping.
  3. Ask for help – Many hotels have a list of babysitters who have been screen (perhaps even more than your sitter at home). Or, if you are with family, ask Grandma to watch the kiddos so you can go out to dinner (or even lunch) as a couple. She and the kids might enjoy some time with just them.
  4. Come prepared: Snacks, games, money, and silly games that require no equipment are all important. So is you with a well-rested, stress-free you. Make sure you are at your best in terms of stress and taking care of yourself prior to leaving.
  5. Reward good behavior: Rather than getting frustrated by the old "Are we there yet" whining, I established a family rule early on: If you don't ask me that question, you get a prize. The prize may be anything: a little sweet treat, a new app, a toy that I brought along… My children love getting a surprise reward. Also, reward yourself with massage or pedi while you are away.

Want more happiness tips? Go to

Elizabeth Lombardo is a psychologist, physical therapist, and bestselling author of "A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness." She is frequently interviewed by today's top media The Today Show, CNN, WSJ, Forbes, Woman's Day, Glamour, Self, Woman's World, Parenting and Cosmopolitan. Shaquille O'Neal says, "Dr. Lombardo is my head coach for happiness.

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