Most of you know how deeply of a connection I have with New Zealand since my experiences there last year. I was excited to see the following article in the LA Times Travel section this morning...
Source: LA Times - Homes away from home on New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula. The 'bach,' or get-away home, is a much-loved institution here, as elsewhere in the country. For visitors, these casual dwellings make for great, inexpensive lodging.
Reporting from the Coromandel Peninsula — In New Zealand, an impressively large percentage of the population owns second homes. These are called "baches," purportedly evoking "bachelor pad," although this typically refers to their condition and not the marital status of their occupants.
In the past, no self-respecting New Zealander would dare call these structures "homes." They were cheaply built shacks made to withstand serious holiday abuse and were the sort of place in which you'd find Chianti bottle candlesticks and poker-playing dogs paintings. They sat like ugly ducklings amid glorious lake, ocean or mountain scenery. Growing up in New Zealand, our family bach was a sacred place where my parents were liberated from fretting over sandy feet, matching furniture or fish gutting in the sink. However, New Zealand's baches are becoming posher. Not actually posh, but they might have real decor, a television and a contemporary kitchen. And they can be rented for a steal.
On a recent trip home, my family and I decided to spend a week touring the Coromandel Peninsula and the Bay of Plenty. I wanted a kitchen, privacy and a place my two daughters could go barefoot 24/7. The obvious answer was a bach at each stop.
A quick Google search led me to Bachcare Holiday Homes, an agency that rents nicer baches -- meaning they would meet American standards -- all over New Zealand. The Coromandel is a two-hour drive east of Auckland up the Thames Coast Road, a pastoral and peaceful drive into rural New Zealand. This is where Aucklanders spend their holidays and ponytailed painters, wood turners and potters live year-round. With its craggy shorelines, golden beaches, velvety pastures and coniferous forests, it is classic postcard New Zealand. To date, however, it has escaped the typical tourist route, probably because it has none of the fancy super lodges found elsewhere in the country.
Coromandel Town, the first township en route, makes for an excellent lunch stop. We ate at the colorful Driving Creek Cafe, set in a tropical garden with excellent organic vegetarian food served by people in Indian skirts and nose rings. The Coromandel is noted for its fine art pottery, and the cafe had a for-sale display.
Source: Intent.com - Ahhh, the joys of holiday air travel. So much to do before you leave, and add the stress of rushing around to the airport and through security.
Then add potential stress of family conflict when you get there. Finally add your kids to this holiday cocktail and it can become an experiment in hair loss. So, just what can you do to keep your sanity and your hair line intact?
Many parents know and are prepared for the fact that many air travelers feel a sense of dread when they see infants and young children board a plane. Because of this, parents can be prepared for the worst instead of expecting the best. So just how can you make the most of this situation and make your holiday travel pleasurable for you, your children, and the passengers around you?
Here are my “Top Ten Tips and Tricks” to help you parents out there on your flight.
1. Prepare your kids for the flight. Start to talk about air travel with your kids and what they should expect days in advance. Don't think your child is too young to understand what you are talking about. Try to point out pictures of planes in books, on television or movies, and let them know where their destination is and what they will be doing there. Children often need to be prepared for new events and/or change, and when they know what to expect, they often adapt to it quicker than if they were not prepared. Add the excitement of the holidays to this, and kids can be off the hook.
2. Bring your own snacks/drinks on your trip. And plenty of them. You never know when you may be delayed or stuck on the tarmac or at the gate and food / drink is not available. When your kids feel hungry, there is often no stopping their discomfort, and patience is not a virtue that many of your kids understand. However, on my recent trip I was able to discuss the concept of patience with my 2 year-old daughter. She wanted get on the plane (unrelated to the food issue), but it was not time to board. She saw other people boarding and began to cry and plead to get on the plane. I talked about patience and waiting. I said that patience is when someone waits for something and they choose not to feel upset. She stopped crying and started saying “patience… wait…”. The biggest disservice I feel we do with our children is to not believe that they can understand concepts. The second disservice is getting upset when we set our expectations too high.
3. Realize that you are taking your child out of their normal routine. Keep in mind how they respond to change in other situations involving change, and don't expect them to behave any differently. Be aware of your child's temperament (easy, slow to warm up, or difficult or any mix of the three), and know that even if they normally do behave well, they may react out of character when under stress.
4. Note that when you are under stress, your children are under stress. You cannot avoid this. Travel is rough enough, but visiting family can add to the undercurrent of your stress. Your children are often a mirror for you, whether you recognize it or not. In my work with children and families, I can confidently say that most of the time that children are having challenges, it is because the parents are also having challenges in some way. Check your own attitude and your feelings about traveling with your children before you leave, and check in with yourself or spouse many times throughout your flight, if necessary. If you are having a tough time with your stress, calmly let your kids know and be honest about it. If you know that you may feel stress before you take a flight, prepare yourself and prepare with different strategies to keep your kids and yourself cool.
5. Don't blame your kids for your stress. This is your stress, and even if they are doing things to contribute to how you're feeling, be careful not to take it out on them. When parents are in public situations, they're less likely to outwardly lose their temper, however sometimes they may say things or do things to try to quiet their children. Don’t make threats or promises that you will not or cannot follow through on. Realize that you are affecting their trust in you and are likely using fear or manipulation to gain control.
While this may get you what you want in the short run, it can have long-term consequences on your relationship.
6. Don’t expect the friendly passenger to baby-sit your child the entire flight. There are many passengers who enjoy kids and will talk with them and play peek-a-boo for a few minutes, but they don’t want to spend their flight with your kids. The hard part is finding the balance. Some parents are almost militant about not letting their kids talk to or play with passengers, because some don’t trust others or feel afraid of upsetting fellow passengers. So ask the passenger if they mind your child interacting with them for a few minutes. You can usually glean their feelings from their response or body language. Put a cap on your child’s play time with other passengers so as to not over extend their welcome. It also helps your kids learn limits and boundaries. If they want to play later with the passenger, just ask the passenger again. We once had a passenger ask if our daughter could sit on their lap after a few balanced interactions. We were fine with this, because we had spent the past hour talking with them and we were right there.
7. Make sure you have activities to keep your kids occupied. Even if your kids are not interested in what you may have brought or planned. Instead of feeling upset, get creative. The plane is a great place to teach about colors, letters, numbers and also to play “I Spy”. One of my favorite games is to play who can be quiet the longest. Make up games, and see if your children can make up games too. The more that your children feel invested in what you are doing, the better response you will get.
8. Use technology in moderation. There are a number of parents who bring DVD players or game systems for their kids, and from the moment that they get on the plane until the moment they land, their kids are glued in front of the DVD player or game system. I am not a proponent of these to the degree that they are often used. You are developing habits that your kids are going to have possibly for a lifetime. Be careful not to develop a tendency for your child to bury themselves. The plane flight is a great time to interact with your kids. You have a captive audience. Make sure you pay attention to all of your kids. While kids who are younger may need attention for their needs, older kids also require attention and communication. Take the time to talk to your kids about school, friends, dreams, and hopes.
9. Create an area where your child can move. You don’t have to keep them tethered to their seat, and you don’t want to let them wander the plane. Let them know their boundary and have them stick to it. Some kids cannot sit in their seat for an entire flight, and if you expect them to, you are setting all of you up for failure. Give your kids a little space to be kids, but put limits around it. If they want to stand or move a little, show them their area to move around in when the seatbelt light is off. If it is time to sit when the seat belt light is on and they do not want to, have a consequence in place. If your kids get upset and cry or scream, you have to be willing to weather this storm so that they understand the limits of their behavior. Keep in mind that you are setting the standard not only for this flight, but for all future flights.
10. Remember that your kids are only young once. See the wisdom in creating positive memories, especially on these special events and seasons. Find the joys in your children and bring that energy into your experience, not just on your flight but every day.
About the author: Erik Fisher, PhD, aka Dr. E…, is a licensed psychologist and author who has been featured on NBC, CBS, FOX and CNN. Visit him at www.DrEPresents.com to learn more about his books "The Art of Empowered Parenting" and "The Art of Managing Everyday Conflict or to check out his blog.
Source: LA2DAY - There's a Chinese proverb that says: "Pearls lie not on the seashore. If thou desirest one, thou must dive for it." I know this because it was on my pillow last night at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach. In search of this pearl, I found that you don't have to dive so far from Los Angeles in order to discover something precious.
Just at the edge of the sprawling Fashion Island shopping complex, the hotel offers a luxurious retreat for both locals and travelers alike. The frenetic pace of life in nearby LA fades away here, and as one explores the hotel, they soon forget about the responsibilities that wait back home.
As Barbara Eidos, the hotel's Community Relations Manager, walked me around the property, I started to think of ways to necessitate many future stays here. Could I become LA2DAY's Newport Beach correspondent, filing reports from beneath a cabana while drinking tropical drinks by the pool, supplementing my income with money earned from tourists at the ping pong tables?
I would certainly be spending my newfound ping pong fortune at The Palm Terrace Lounge. It's the perfect spot to spend an evening in Newport Beach. Sure, you could traverse the treacherous (not really) few miles down to the water, but you'd be hard pressed to find such excellent service and quality food as you would only an elevator trip from your room. Dean Karatas, Assistant Food and Beverage Manager, tells me that the crowd is "eighty percent locals, and that makes it easy to build relationships with your VIPs." Read more at LA2DAY.com