Number One Rule: Go at a child’s pace. Even if it is the only time you will take them to Disneyland, do not force them to see all of it. A vacation should be restful, and trying to do too much creates stress for everyone.
Sleeping in a hotel, if it is uncommon, will be exciting to a child. Add breakfast at IHOP, and you’ve made their day. Create special memories of the small moments, remembering to let children be themselves. If they are too shy to pose with Clifford the Big Red Dog don’t make them.
Make sure interactive events are not too overwhelming. A little girl might be terrified by the man “in jail” talking to her, while her older sisters enjoy the attention. The other side of this coin is not to take the magic out of things. One man on a river cruise talked about how the boat was on a track and the animals were animated to make them roar at the right time. This was disappointing to the children around him, who thought it was real and were thrilled by the adventure. Let children figure it out for themselves, unless it is too scary. Trauma does not make for a good vacation.
A short vacation may be better than a long one, depending on the age of the children. Too much time away from home can be unsettling for a young child. Research the activities available for the age of your children. Make sure your cruise, hotel, campground, or other destination is family-friendly. Maintain family routines like bedtime stories and prayers to encourage family togetherness and security for your children. Then go out and have some fun!