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A secret to a happier vacation: plan some nothing.

Parenting tips for happier vacations

Photo by Kyle Loftus on Unsplash

We tend to fill our vacations with plans and projects. What if the plan was not to plan at all?

A funny thing about Americans is that we can be a little afraid to do nothing. Our Puritan ancestors (who are absolutely not my direct ancestors and probably not yours either, but they still managed to dump this on us) were all about getting the things done. Milk that cow, tote that bale. Want some rest? Why not sit here on this hard bench and contemplate sin and damnation?

You can see why they weren’t fun to vacation with.

Here’s my thought this week on happier vacations: they ought to include some do-nothing time. At home, at the lake or beach, on the road–how about an afternoon or a whole day with nothing at all planned? I know. You want to pack it all in. THERE ARE THINGS TO SEE.

But you can’t see everything. And most of us are happier if we don’t try, but instead allow a little breathing time. Sit on a bench and let the kids roll in the park grass. Sit on the deck of that rental house and don’t barbecue anything. Order a pizza. Put your feet up. Teens on their phones? It won’t kill them. Let things be.

Here’s a little quote from an expert I interviewed for How to Be a Happier Parent: “I have this fantasy that someone will do an actual research study that shows that just hanging out with your kids doing nothing leads to them coming out ok. I think we’d all feel so much better.”

So, that’s my wish for you, and for me, this coming week. Whadya wanna do? How about nothing? Sounds good to me.


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