Family-friendly staycays

Splash out on a night with manta rays, chill with a personal bartender and canapes, and feast on a private meal and artefacts

Is it possible to ensure a successful family staycation, where kids and parents want the same things and where there is no squabbling over the remote? Three Sunday Times writers find out.

Is it possible to ensure a successful family staycation, where kids and parents want the same things and there is no squabbling over the remote?

Without the attractions of a foreign locale, staycays can feel too close to home, with familiar patterns of domestic strain simmering beneath the surface.

The good news is that planning ahead and being flexible is half the battle won.

Ms Skye Tan, a family life specialist at the Focus on the Family Singapore charity, suggests planning for time spent both indoors and out, as well as scouting restaurants, attractions and even sales nearby.

Babies and toddlers may need to stick to their daytime nap routine for greater peace all around, while parents can bring snacks, entertainment and bubble bath gels to keep fidgety youngsters occupied, at least for a while.

Ms Tan adds: "Involve older kids in the planning to increase their engagement, so there is joint ownership in creating a bonding experience."

But new thrills and day-to-night distractions are not always what children want.

While social media can generate Fomo (fear of missing out) when comparing holiday plans with other families, a fully packed staycation is unnecessary, says Ms Tan.

"Consider including some downtime. What our children want most is our undivided attention. Spending distraction-free time with your child is a good way to learn more about him or her."

Repeat visits to a vacation spot can be attractive for kids.

A Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) spokesman says: "We have been seeing a large number of return visits since we reopened in July."

Describing demand for staycations at RWS as "very strong" for this month and the next, the spokesman adds that many families with year-end school holiday bookings, some of whom are repeat visitors, make sure they visit its Universal Studios Singapore and S.E.A. Aquarium.

Three Sunday Times writers find out what makes a memorable family staycation as they visit Ocean Suites at RWS, One Farrer Hotel in Little India and Oakwood Premier AMTD Singapore in the Central Business District.

They talk about watching stingrays swim up close, surveying the city from a high-rise hot tub and, for one Gen X parent, partying like it is 1999.

•The staycations were hosted by the respective hotels. For more staycation reviews, go to str.sg/SuiteLife

•For more stories on exploring Singapore, go to str.sg/sg-go-where

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 22, 2020, with the headline 'Family-friendly staycays'. Print Edition | Subscribe