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Family holidays can be a tricky thing to get perfect. They can easily be spoiled by rows and arguments. With the whole family together in one place for a long weekend or a week, a bit of arguing is pretty normal. It would be nice to avoid bickering where possible though!

The build up to a family holiday in Scotland can often be long and intense. The list of potential stresses can seem never-ending: money, transport, packing, squabbling children, making sure you have organised someone to feed the cat... And this is supposed to be a relaxing time together!

All of this added stress would be enough to make the best of us argumentative. Don’t panic, we have some top tips on how you can make sure your active family holidays in Scotland are as argument-free as possible.

  1. Prepare for your trip

    Lots of those all-too-familiar holiday squabbles that happen in the lead up to your family break in Scotland can be avoided by being prepared. Make sure you leave as little as you can to chance and do as much as possible beforehand. Write packing lists to avoid forgetting important and useful items like allergy medicine or that very important cuddle toy. Wash and iron clothes well in advance so you don’t get caught out at the last minute. Organise any house/ pet sitting that will need to happen whilst you’re away well beforehand, and set off in good time. If the initial stages of your trip go well, you’ll be much less likely to arrive in a flurry of fight-inducing adrenalin that will take a lot to come back from.

    Blogger Vicki from online parenting magazine Honest Mum's top tip for travelling with younger children (especially if you’re flying) is be prepared-over-prepared. Vicki says: "you can never have too many wet wipes and snacks! Fill your bag with snacks, games, playing cards, a portable DVD player in case the aircraft doesn't have one and make sure you buy water once you're through check in. I always take extra clothes and medicine, you never know when your kids might get a temperature or feel unwell."

  1. Get everyone involved

    When you’re still at the planning stages of your family break in scotland, make sure you think about what the whole family would like from the trip. Try letting everyone say what they’d ideally like from the trip. This lets you meet as many needs as possible and gives the whole family a sense of ownership. This can be a good opportunity for discussion. It’s pretty unlikely that everyone will be able get everything they ask for, and the whole family will need to compromise a bit. However, having had this chat, and everyone being on board, will help you down the line when it comes to planning activities when you’re away.

    adults and child on holiday

  1. Pick the right accommodation

    It may seem to make economic sense to just book one room and add extra beds for your kids, but this could be recipe for disaster. This will be especially true if you’re travelling with unruly teenages who’s worst nightmare will be to share a room with mum and dad.

    Even on holiday, everyone needs their own ‘territory’. Somewhere they can feel comfortable and spend time recovering from busy days packed with activities. Without this anyone would be liable to get irritable and annoyed. Make sure your accommodation is large enough for your family to each have a more private space and with communal areas where you can all get together. Making sure everyone has enough space will give everyone breathing room necessary for a calm holiday.

  1. Find a distraction

    Avoid potential arguments by keeping yourself and your family busy! Nothing leads to bickering quite like boredom. With a wide variety of activities & entertainment for all ages, there’s plenty to keep you occupied during your break. At Argyll Holidays we have a selection of parks set in the heart of Scotland that offer beautiful scenery, wildlife, walking trails and a huge range of events and activities. Whether you’re a family looking to entertain the kids, couple looking to relax or a group of friends looking for adventure, there’s something for everyone at Argyll. Simply by reminding your family of just how fun holidays can mean they’ll be more focused on what fun activity is next than who said what to whom.
  1. Take a breather

    Just because you’ve come on a family break in Scotland - as a family - it doesn’t mean you need to be glued to one another. Whether you need an hour or so in a different room with a book, or you think it might be a good idea to do separate activities for the day, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of time away from the whole group.

    Set aside “me time” if you’re worried you might lose your temper. Allow yourself time off when you can pursue your own interests. A morning swim, an hour alone in the hot tub or an afternoon stroll around the local shops can give you some much needed space. Equally, if you spot a family member who could benefit from a bit of a breather allow them to go and reset themselves, they’ll be all the more pleasant for it when they return.

    hot tub picture

  1. Tough love

    Whilst we all know that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” sometimes little niggles just sneak past the prevention methods you’ve planned. If an argument does start to bubble over then sometimes the only way you can diffuse it is by ramping up the tension. Use your best parenting voice; get authoritative and remind your family that they’re lucky to have family holidays in Scotland at all. You just watch, they’ll fall silent before you’ve even finished speaking!
  1. Common ground

    Are your family arguing about something personal? If so force them to stop picking apart the past by turning to a neutral topic anyone can get involved in. Think about a time during a past holiday you all enjoyed, or maybe play an interesting game.

    This also counts for if someone seems to be enjoying the holiday less, make sure the next activity doesn’t exclude any of the family.

  1. Plan for if disaster strikes

    Sometimes arguments can be unavoidable. Whilst you can do what you can to keep them at bay, it’s important make sure you have a damage limitation plan in place if an argument does happen. That way you can make sure that a bit of bickering doesn’t ruin the whole family holiday.

    One plan can be to “split up into groups”. If the kids are at each other's’ throats, you could spend a day when they both do a different activity to give one another some space.

  1. Forgive and forget

    It’s probably a good idea to accept that you might have one or two travel tiffs. If they happen you won’t be able to run back home and avoid each other until the dust settles. So the easiest way is to give up the high ground, apologise and move on as swiftly as possible. You may end up taking the blame unnecessarily, but this way you won’t have to endure the silent treatment and both sides can still enjoy their holiday.

    If it’s a more serious argument, it can be difficult to forgive someone when you are thoroughly convinced they wronged you in a terrible way. Especially if you feel they’re jeopardising your holiday plans. Keep in mind, that forgiveness isn’t something you do for the sake of the other person. It’s something you do for yourself. By forgiving someone you’ve been arguing with you’re simply choosing to let go of the resentment and anger that has done nothing positive for you. 

  1. Delay unnecessary arguments

    If you are having a conversation and it is heading into dangerous territory try to suggest postponing the conversation until you get back from your holiday, after all you don’t want to ruin your precious time away. As an added bonus, by stopping an argument in its tracks you often don’t bother picking it up again at a later date as it no longer seems relevant.
  1. Pack your sense of humour

    Sometimes, laughter really is the best cure and you’ll just have to smile and shrug it off. Keep as much of a positive attitude as you can. A Smile is infectious! Even if things don’t go entirely to plan, try to see the funny side of things and hopefully the whole family will be able to join you. A kind smile can banish any bad feelings and a giggle will keep holiday spirits high. Ultimately it’s important to keep in mind that your actions and attitude have an impact on the people around you. If you want to experience more joy during your holidays remember that this change starts with you. Happiness is contagious so you can be the catalyst for a great holiday by maintaining a positive attitude yourself.

    laughter at Argyll Holidays


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