We are coming up on Spring Break season which means parents will be looking for all sorts of activities to keep their little ones busy. One of my family’s favorite things to do during spring break was spend a day at a theme park. However, with eight kids and only two adults, my parents had to figure out a way to keep us all safe and accounted for while we were there.
Here are 6 of the best tips they came up with for a care free day at the park!
Have everyone in the same color (preferably a bright color) shirt
This will make it easy for your kids to find you and for you to see them. If you’re going with friends organize with the other parents that way your entire group is coordinated and easy to spot in the large crowds.
Give each kid a backpack with their own stuff
My parents would give each of us a little backpack that we would be responsible for. We were allowed to pick out a few of our favorite snacks to keep in there with a little water bottle to have with us all day long. This would keep us from constantly asking my parents for treats throughout the day and was an easy way to make sure we were staying hydrated. We loved being responsible for our own belongings and not having to share what we had picked out for ourselves. Avoid having anything that can easily melt.
Bring an iPad for long wait times
Kids do not do well in lines, especially when the lines are anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour wait to get on the rides. Everyone will have a much more pleasant time if the kids are occupied and have something to do while they wait. Excuse yourself from the guilt and let yourself live in the magic that is a kid that’s not complaining.
Plan a long break in the middle of the day
My parents would make lunch last at least 90 minutes. This gave us all a chance to sit down, take our backpacks off, some of us might sleep in a stroller or right at the table, and my parents would have a chance to catch their breath without having to constantly worry about where we were. This helped keep all of us in a good mood for the rest of the day.
Write your phone number in permanent marker on their arm and their shirt
Make sure your phone number and your name is written on both your child’s arm and on their shirt. This way if you get separated from them park employees have a quick way to get a hold of you to let you know where you can find them.
Don’t have any expectations for how the day should go
I think this one is the most important. Everyone wants the day to go perfectly. They want their kids to have the best time. They don’t want to spend a lot of money (because that’s inevitable at theme parks) only to go home sad. This is totally understandable but there will be many factors that will be out of your control that will inevitably affect how you had planned for the day to go. Don’t force anything. Be flexible. Go with the flow. Let your kids explore.
These tips helped my parents keep their sanity during the long days at a theme park. Just remember, even with these tips, things can go wrong. Make sure your kids know what to do if they ever get separated from you, allow yourself to let loose a little bit, and don’t be upset if you do not get to do everything that was on your list.
Remember that everyone just wants the same thing – they all want to leave with smiles on their faces and a handful of memories that they will cherish for years to come.