March 7, 2007

Where to go

Somewhere that involves water or animals is the best rule of thumb.

Most children can spend hours in a swimming pool, and the promise of seeing animals, either in a zoo, on safari or at a sealife centre is an irresistible attraction.

If you are touring from place to place, try to book hotels with swimming pools - you can use this as a bribe for good behaviour in the car.

It is also unfair to expect your children to behave with utter decorum all the time. They need somewhere to run around and shriek.

This is why "family friendly" resorts are best for this age group, although you should be prepared to sacrifice any peace and quiet yourselves.

Long-haul flights can be stressful if you have two or more children, so the Mediterranean is often a popular solution, in particular France and Italy, where the people love children and will be happy to welcome them into almost any restaurant or hotel.

Language is an important factor here, too - if you have primary-school-age children, most will be learning French and will love trying out a few words.

Independence is important to older children, but it must be a safe independence, so choose a resort or hotel where they can wander about on their own in the company of their siblings or friends, but cannot get lost.

Walkie-talkies or mobile phones are a very good idea. Children of this age will prefer to have their own room, and it will give you more privacy, too.

And it's worth thinking about evening entertainment: they will want to stay up later, so what is there for them to do? A resort with a pre-teen disco or cinema will keep them happy while you have a peaceful meal on your own.


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