Staycation? Here’s What you Need to Know

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Staycation? Here’s What you Need to Know Written by Family Days Out correspondent Dolores Santos.

A staycation is an awesome opportunity to break away from boredom and get to know your own hometown. The great thing about staying local is that you can do nearly anything that your family will enjoy while saving those precious pennies and dimes. You’ll also be able to fit more activities into your day. As an added bonus, you’ll save hours of travel time and that’s priceless when you have kids constantly asking, “Are we there yet?”

Here are a few things you should know before you (don’t) go:

1. Safety is key

Parents tend to be overly protective of their children while on a traditional vacation. The whole unfamiliar place and stranger danger thing.... But, you also have to keep safety in mind during your staycation, especially because you may get lax about it in your own yard.

Keep an eye on the kids while they ride their bikes --- and helmets aren’t optional. You also should supervise them while they use water guns or balloons, because they could shoot someone’s eye out, kid.

Here are a few other summer features you should take extra precautions with, because although they add a lot of fun to summer days and nights, they can quickly turn dangerous, especially for children:

● Barbecues – Keep kids away from your backyard grill, and make sure that it is in working order before you use it. You didn’t forget the propane, right?
● Windows – If your windows will be open to let in some fresh air, check safety latches and use window guards while moving furniture away from windows to prevent falls.Open windows also mean you get to smell what the neighbors have on the grill!
● Camping – If you are cam... um, glamping, in your backyard, ensure you place your tent away from your campfire and trees, and do not cook inside the tent for any reason. If the weather ruins your camping plans, have a camp-out in the house.
● Balloons – If part of your staycation involves a bombing the kids with water grenades, remember that latex balloons are a choking hazard and that you should supervise your children and throw away pieces as soon as balloons po

2. Protect Your Children from the Elements

Remember the sunblock, because your kids can get sunburned just as easily in your yard as they can at the beach, even on a cloudy day. There is much debate over the best sunscreen for kids, but make sure that yours is a broad-spectrum version that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Also, choose one that has an SPF over 30. Reapply sunscreen every 80-120 minutes.

If you plan to be in your yard – whether on your summer-ready deck, patio or just in your garden – remember the bug spray, too. Mosquitoes and ticks spread diseases and cause painful or itchy skin reactions, and nobody has time for all that when they’re having fun.

Slather on the sunscreen first then apply bug spray to your kids’ uncovered skin and clothes. Remember to tell your kids to hold their breath when you grab the bug repellent and to apply it in a well-ventilated area away from flames (like maybe the backyard). Do not spray the repellent onto your kids’ faces or ears; rather, spray some onto your hands and spread it on evenly.

3. Allow Everyone to Choose At Least One Activity

True staycation success is measured by the happiness and enjoyment everyone experiences. But, if you’re a control freak -- and we’re not pointing fingers here -- you run the risk of your children saying that the activities are boring or unfair (The truth is they’ll say that anyway). To reduce whining and arguing, allow everyone to choose at least one activity.

Now, that’s not to say that you should give your kids the freedom to choose anything. It’s especially important that you do not overwhelm your kids with options, either. Young children should choose between only two options, but you can give older children a few more as appropriate. Try to offer choices that will result in a combination of indoor and outdoor activities, and more active and less active recreation.

When you give kids choices, you invite cooperation and strengthen their sense of community while building respect and capitalizing on their need for autonomy. You also can point out that each person got a choice, and that you made the staycation as fair as possible should any arguments arise.

Staycations are an affordable, time-saving alternative to traditional family vacations. To do a staycation the right way, keep safety in mind, protect your kids with sunscreen and bug repellent, and give everyone a say!

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