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The benefits of vacationing with each child individually

Matt Villano

There’s no question that family vacations for multi-child families are best when the whole clan goes away together. But smaller (and sometimes shorter) trips that enable Mom and Dad to hit the road with each child individually can be pretty special, too.

The thinking behind these jaunts is simple—you had solo time away from home with your oldest child until the siblings came along, so why not plan solo vacations with each sibling?

Everyone benefits from these little trips.

The kid who goes scores Mom and Dad at their most relaxed, as well as a hearty helping of undivided attention. Mom and Dad get unadulterated (pardon the pun) bonding time with said kid, not to mention a night or two away from the stresses of daily life. The siblings who stay get a similar break in the action, in addition to quality time with grandparents (who undoubtedly will jump at the opportunity) or another caregiver (who’ll earn good money).

What’s more, on a purely basic level, even if you don’t plan an escape fit for Pippa Middleton, quick getaways are just plain fun.

Powerwoman and I took one of these excursions last week, when we left L (our toddler) with her grandparents and absconded with R (our 7-month-old) for a trip to the Napa Valley.

We were gone less than 24 hours. From our home in northern Sonoma County, we drove 70 minutes to a relatively new winery, where the staff was low-key enough to accommodate us with our underage drinker (and allow us to feed R in a back corner of the tasting salon). Then we continued to The Carneros Inn, where the three of us cuddled, slept, swam in a wonderfully family-friendly pool and generally lazed around.

I admit it, dear readers, our excursion was somewhat fancy-pants. In general, however, these one-kid trips can be anything—a night at the local Motel 6, in a tent or at the Ritz-Carlton.

To be frank, it doesn’t really matter where you go or what you do; the time away will work wonders. And the more you expose your kids to travel—collectively or individually—the more of a habit travel will become.