OK, so this popped up in my Facebook feed the other day: Disney is offering something called a “kindermoon,” a special vacation—on the order of a honeymoon or babymoon—for families with a preschooler who’s about to start kindergarten. I have so many…feelings about this.
The first is this: Disney, I love you, but are you freaking kidding me?! A kindermoon? We have enough to do as parents, and now we have to do one more expensive thing that will make us feel like bad parents if we don’t do it? Hello, mom guilt, my old friend. It’s been, like, two days since I’ve seen you.
I realize that this is smart marketing on Disney’s part, but still…ugh. If they have even a modicum of success, every other amusement park, resort and kiddie destination will try to jump on the bandwagon. And once that happens, the idea of a kindermoon won’t sound weird anymore. It will be just one more thing that’s a normal part of our parenting lexicon.
I have a big problem with that.
But I have another big problem with this whole thing: Part of me kind of loves the idea.
Even if I don’t like being told when I’m supposed to have my family fun, I love the idea of celebrating our kids, of celebrating us—where we are, right at that moment, right before a big, momentous life change. There’s just something special about it. That’s how families bond, and that’s how lasting memories are made. (Plus, I’m a big kid, and I’d welcome any excuse to plan a trip to Disney.)
I chose to do something like that with my then-3-year-old before my daughter was born. We took a family babymoon to—you guessed it—Disney World! The purpose of the trip was to celebrate a big birthday for me and Mother’s Day, but most of all, it was to celebrate our last bit of time together as a family of three.
I particularly wanted my son to have something just for him before his life got turned upside down by his little sister. I wanted him to know just how much we loved him. I wanted him to know that he would always be our special little man, no matter what. I wanted him to remember all of the warm and fuzzy memories I hoped we would make on this trip—always.
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Apparently I was onto something. One study found that giving the gift of experience rather than giving a thing forges a stronger bond between family members. Another claims that you’re making your kids not only happier but also smarter when you take them on vacation. And yet another calls these big trips “happiness anchors”—memories that help children get through tough times, both now and when they’re adults.
I’m happy to hear that science backs it up, because that’s just what I’d been hoping for.
And you know what? Our trip was wonderful, we made those memories together as a family, and my son still talks about it. It’s definitely a happiness anchor for him, as well as for me. He also often asks when we can go back—not only because he’s now old enough to participate in Jedi Training Camp but also because he thinks his little sister would love it. (Have I mentioned lately just how much I love that kid?)
And speaking of our cute little vacation stowaway, even though our daughter wasn’t out and about for our Disney trip, she was along for the ride—the proverbial one and the literal ones—while she was nestled in my belly. She was very much a part of the whole experience for all of us.
So, while I may not love the idea of being force-fed a kindermoon, per se, I think that any big family vacation is a good thing, no matter when or where you decide to take one.
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