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A Psychologist's Top Tip For A Peaceful Family Holiday

Going on holiday is stressful – just think of the first 15 minutes of Home Alone.
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A family holiday isn’t a family holiday without a few bust-ups, right? A Monopoly board flying across a caravan scattering an aura of green plastic houses is a key element of every successful getaway. (Nobody knows how Monopoly is meant to end, btw – no game of it has ever ended in any way other than throwing.)

There’s a limit, though, and nobody wants a holiday to descend into nothing but squabbling. You want to get a few activities in there that involve voices remaining at normal volumes.

Psychologist and parenting author Linda Blair believes the key to avoiding holiday arguments is to make sure you’re already well-rested when you go – rather than planning to relax when you get there.

That’s right, clock up those hours of sleep in the run-up to your holiday – naps and lie-ins galore.

Planning for a getaway is stressful – just think of the first 15 minutes of Home Alone, where everyone’s at each other’s throats – and late night packing followed by early trips to the airport means everyone is knackered when they get there.

Blair told the BBC the mistake many families make is going on holiday already burned-out and irritable from planning, scrabbling about to buy stuff, cramming to get ahead with work and sorting everything out so your house doesn’t get robbed/repossessed/cut off while away. We’re going on holiday pre-stressed.

“We’re going on holiday pre-stressed.”

Maybe what we need to do is shift everything forward, and aim to have everything packed and ready a few days before travelling, so we can ease into it.

It all seems easier said than done – as surely half the point of going on holiday is that real life makes relaxation extremely difficult – but if it is doable at all, it sounds like it makes a lot of sense.

If you need a few more tips on how to ease into your holiday stress-free, try some of these ideas on how to properly switch off, plus some cheap things to do with your kids if they’re already bored on day one.