How to have a successful family staycation

ST journalist Venessa Lee (right) with her son Micah and daughter Leah, are pictured at the Oakwood Premier AMTD Singapore two-bedroom executive apartment.
ST journalist Venessa Lee (right) with her son Micah and daughter Leah, are pictured at the Oakwood Premier AMTD Singapore two-bedroom executive apartment.ST PHOTO: VENESSA LEE

SINGAPORE - 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?

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

Babies and toddlers may need to stick to their daytime nap routine for greater peace all round, 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."

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


ST journalist Venessa Lee's son, Micah (left), and daughter, Leah (right), in their room with twin beds. ST PHOTO: VENESSA LEE

While social media can generate Fomo (fear of missing out) when comparing holiday plans with those of other families, a fully packed staycation schedule 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 spokesman says: "We are 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 next, the spokesman adds that many families with year-end school holiday bookings, some of whom are repeat visitors, make sure they visit 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 close; surveying the city from a high-rise hot tub; and, for one Gen X parent, partying like it's 1999.

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