Taking Solo Trips With Each Kid

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Since Little C was our only daughter for her first five and a half years of life she defaulted in to being the only child to go with us on trips…and everywhere else. Starting at 18 months, sometimes her and I even did our own “Mommy and C” trips to places from Corpus Christi to New York City to Hawaii to Paris.

Fun Mommy and C trips

Fun Mommy and C trips

Then last year our second daughter was born and pretty much everything, including travel, became a shared activity with her little sister. On the whole I think her life is much richer and better for it, but both of us miss our “Mommy and C” trips. That isn’t a big surprise, and we already have a trip for just the two of us planned for 2017, but when we recently defaulted into traveling with just our youngest daughter to Miami, I was surprised by how enjoyable that experience was.

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Eating in the Centurion Lounge before the flight

If I am being crystal clear honest, the main reason that I took our 14 month old on a quick trip to Miami was that she is nursing and I can’t easily leave her for more than a few hours, let alone an entire weekend. Our oldest daughter stayed behind with grandparents while Josh and I went on that trip both since she was just getting into the rhythm of the school year and because airfare was pretty high. If our littlest could have logistically been left behind as well, I think I would have relished an the opportunity for an adults-only getaway to the luxurious St. Regis Bal Harbour.

However, it was to be a party of three, and our youngest turned out to be far from a third wheel. While I have spent more time with my youngest in the last 14 months than any other person on the planet, the craziness of life means that my full attention is often not on her for more than a few moments at a time, even when we are the only two home. Even when I am holding and nursing her, my mind is often running through the to-do list, or I am working on my phone with my free hand, or I am just zoned out for a few minutes. I’m not saying that is the ideal scenario, but I bet it is pretty common.

But take us away to a land with no chores, no dishes, no dinners to make, no laundry, no older sister, no homework, no errands, and very little work, and all the sudden it is easy to fully enjoy this sweet pre-toddler. We got to see more of her sassy personality in action as we relaxed in the hotel room for a few hours than we probably do in an entire week at home.

And of course we enjoyed an endless stream of her sweet snuggles.

My favorite thing about this trip is the one on one time we are getting with our youngest. Didn't know we were missing that, but we were.

She looks so much like her older sister did at that age that it is easy to forget she is distinct in so many of her own ways. Taking a trip away with her as an only child was a very special gift since she has never had multiple days with just mom and dad, and we have never had multiple days to just focus on her.

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I knew that I would miss my one-on-one trips with my oldest daughter, so I have those set to resume in a few months. But, it honestly had not yet occurred to me to already start taking one-on-one trips with my youngest. I am so grateful this trip worked out that way because I needed something that I didn’t even realize I was missing. Uninterrupted time to play just with just my littlest traveler.

On that trip she started standing on her own for longer periods of time and the very next week she took her first few steps. She is at an absolutely magical age where you can literally see growth and development happen before your eyes, and it was the perfect time to have a weekend with her as our primary focus.

Standing in the hotel room

Standing in the hotel room

In the future I hope we take one trip a year alone not just with my oldest daughter, but also one with my youngest. It would be easy to skip that step with her until she is a bit older, but this trip to Miami showed me that we all really enjoy the opportunity to have her be the only child for a few days. She didn’t have 5.5 years of practice being the only child the way her older sister did, but she still knows how to relish in having the attention of both parents, and we enjoyed slowing things down and moving at a one year old’s pace with just her to hug on for a while.

Party of three

Party of three

I should mention, while all of this was going on our oldest daughter was having a blast having Grandma and Grandpa all to herself…and we were all thrilled to be reunited at the end of the weekend. Do you take solo trips with each one of your kids? At which age did you start?

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Comments

  1. Our family of 3 boys makes it hard to find time with just one kid. So we started a tradition that when you finish a school milestone, you get a solo trip with mom and dad for a long weekend. So when each went from elementary school to middle school, they got to pick anywhere Southwest flies that they wanted to go in the US (Gotta put that companion pass to work!) Then the same thing happens the summer between middle school and high school, etc. So far they’ve picked Washington DC, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia. They love being the center of attention and deciding where to go and what to do. The middle son was so taken by New York City during his trip that he begged us to take a family vacation there so he could show it to his brothers. So we ended up in NYC for Thanksgiving that year. When they graduate from high school we might expand their choices, but for now, the long weekend domestically works great. Other than that we’ve done a few ski weekends with one kid and one parent, or a sporting event for their favorite pro team or something like that. I think it’s totally worth it for them and for us!

  2. When our kids turn 12 they get a 2 day Disneyland trip. I’m headed there in 2 weeks but my son wants one day in the park and another at an Angels game. And thanks to Skymiles the plane tickets were ultra cheap, just 11k miles RT for each of us. I’m sure we’ll find a similar event when moving on to high school.

  3. We have a blended family of 4 adult children (ages 23 to 43!) and we still try to have one on one time and trips with each. I think it’s important to have time with them, when there are not other family dynamics involved!

  4. I am a lil confused. These don’t appear to be one on one trips. Some of the best bonding time is taking each of our kids with only myself, or only my wife. Wether its camping or skiing; father son trips are amazing as its nice to be able to sit on the bed with your shoes on, or eat pizza for lunch and dinner! My young daughter is starting to realize that and is finally asking me where i can take her!

    • I agree there are different kinds of solo trips – the kind where one parent takes one kid and where both parents take one kid together. We’ve done both and I enjoy both for sure!

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