Our family does not do every vacation with all family members. We try to do what is best for each child, and this means dividing up for many “vacations.”
This may not seem ideal to some, but for our family it works out perfectly. We have three children, two are boys who each have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They need lots of stimulation and thrive on new activities.
Our third child is completely opposite and has Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID) and needs low-key environments with predictable schedules.
There is no way to integrate all of these differences every time and have a perfect vacation. All it would accomplish would be to set someone up for failure and no one would be happy.
What makes for even more confusion is the fact that our oldest son plays competitive hockey and has many trips for hockey tournaments. Just being at the ice rink is too overstimulating for our daughter. It is too cold, too bright, and too loud for her. So much so we do not even take her to his local games.
His team will travel to three different tournaments in three different states each hockey season. That is a lot. After trying to do them with everyone in the beginning, we realized very quickly it was better for one parent to go on these trips and the other stay at home with our girl. Not only did it keep her happier and successful, it kept the costs down too.
Once every two years we do plan a vacation that includes everyone. It takes a bit more thinking and creativity but it is worth it in the end. Some of the better options for these types of vacations are renting a condo at the beach or renting a cabin on the lake. Having a place with a kitchen is a must. Our daughter is on a special diet and preparing our meals keeps the food cost down as well.
The outdoors and water vacations are very calming. We plan these at “off” times of the travel season when it is less crowded. We stay away from the traditional tourist attractions as they are usually way too loud and crowded.
Our whole family looks forward to these vacations and because of the setting they are truly quality time spent with the most important people in our lives.
Find lots of great ideas and suggestions from other parents on planning great family vacations
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.