How to handle children in a group on holiday


This trip, we are discovering the perks of large family holidays. We are in Bali with my husband’s cousins and all their children. The other kids are all older and are having fun minding the younger ones, namely my son and one other. When given specific instructions, they watched my son while I had some time to myself, to eat, to drink and to play. 

Give them responsibility

One of the younger girls has attached herself to my son as she finds him adorable. She has taken it upon herself to be his minder and follows him wherever he goes. This is great because my child is at the age where he loves to walk and explore. Not so great as the villa we are in is rather large and extensive and we didn’t want him to wander off. Also it’s not infant friendly with 2 staircases that lead to the 2 pools, and some parts of the main living area have drop offs that can be dangerous to a wandering child. So this little babysitter practically hooks her hands around his arms and walks behind him as he totters along. I tell her not to go near the stairs or the edges and she takes her job very seriously. 

Team work

One morning during breakfast, one of the children, after watching me feed my child some porridge, asked if she could feed him too. So I passed her the spoon and told her to make sure each mouthful had some rice and a protein. One of the more experienced parents got the rest to chip in; while one was feeding him porridge, another had to pat my child’s back to encourage him to swallow. Another was told to monitor his mouth and if it were empty, to announce it so another mouthful could be fed. The fourth child had to document the entire thing on her iPad with photos and a report. While the fifth child… I forgot what it was he had to do. But for a blissful 15 minutes I could eat my breakfast in peace while the experienced parent sat next to me and enjoyed his coffee. He looked over and said, “this is how you keep all 6 of them quiet and busy.”

I was in awe. 

Giving them something to focus on

I was in a cab with my son, 2 chatty tweens and one of the fathers. The girls were talking a mile a minute while we were trapped in a typical Bali jam. I was trying to keep up with their conversation when the father, who was progressively getting a headache, turned around to the girls and suggested a game. The girls were excited, who wouldn’t want to play a game? He suggested they count the number of motorcyclists that were female. Immediately the chatter of “who likes who more” stopped as the 2 9-year-olds focused on every bike that went by. Even I joined in, “oh look she’s wearing lipstick!” “Oh that one has a flowery bag! Must be female!” 

Selling it

My child Liam took a huge crap and the smell was glorious. The kids were all making peeyeww sounds so I went to change his diaper. Thinking I could con one of them into doing it, I announced, “who wants to change his diaper!” And was met with a chorus of EEWWWWW!! One of the adults laughed and said I made a terrible salesman. He announced instead, “who wants to make Liam happy??” And Liam’s fan club raised their hands and happily chirped, “ME!!!!!!” So suddenly I had a group of 3 little girls following me to our room and entertaining him while I changed his diaper. They were such troopers despite the smell. Although one did overreact and pretended to retch into the decorative vases in the room. 

Children love to help

After changing his diaper, I needed them to watch Liam while I washed my hands so I told them to help put his sandals back on. So 2 of the little girls each took one sandal and put it on his feet. My husband popped his head in and was greeted with the miraculous sight of our little helpers. The other parents may be used to getting the children to help out here and there, but this was a first for me! 

I’m learning something new each day. The children are amazing with one another. The adults have been so supportive. They watched without judgement, they listened without comment. They have no qualms entertaining my child while I eat or take a break. I managed to play half a round of Scrabble while Liam was being entertained by interpretive Balinese dance by one of the uncles. 

I’m already looking forward to Bali 2018.

Leave a Reply

Post Navigation