Take the Kids

Ask Travel Nanny

Issue 1 · Winter 2014/15
By Charlotte Radford · Illustration Ping Zhu

Scott Dunn’s childcare expert Charlotte Radford shares her tips for globetrotting parents

Issue 1 · Winter 2014/15
By Charlotte Radford · Illustration Ping Zhu

Scott Dunn’s childcare expert Charlotte Radford shares her tips for globetrotting parents

My children are fussy eaters. I’m hoping to use our holiday in Crete to get them to try some new things. Any ideas?


Taking children abroad is a great way to introduce a bit more variety into their diet. You’ll be surprised how much more open to experimenting they can be in a holiday setting. In my experience, both as a private nanny and working in kids’ clubs, you often find children who are very picky at home looking around at other children enjoying different food and giving it a go themselves.

I’m a big fan of mezze platters with vegetable sticks, houmous, tzatziki, pitta bread and so on. It’s a great way for kids to taste little bites rather than being faced with a huge plate of unusual-looking food.

Being in a hotel with a buffet is often the perfect way to encourage them to try new things without putting too much pressure on them. The food is fresh and beautifully presented and even things they might be familiar with, such as olives, look much more enticing. The best way of all to persuade kids to try new things is to get them involved with making it. A lot of our hotels and resorts also have children’s clubs where cooking is part of the activity programme, notably our Scott Dunn Explorers destinations. Children enjoy getting involved in cooking and baking and are far more likely to be interested in eating what they made themselves.

Our 13-year-old is at that very shy and awkward stage but desperately wants to meet other teenagers. What’s the best way of getting teens to mix on holiday?

Teenagers’ moods can make or break a family holiday, so choose a resort or hotel with plenty of activities. Striking up a conversation while doing an activity is easier than sitting by a swimming pool trying to pluck up the courage to speak to someone.

For parents, it’s not advisable to put too much pressure on teenagers to socialise. It can have the opposite effect, and you can easily get to the stage where you become that dreaded thing – the embarrassing parent. We always find that doing group activities really helps teenagers, even painfully shy ones, to come out of their shells and socialise. A number of Scott Dunn hotels have teens’ clubs, with activities they can dip in and out of. Scott Dunn Explorers’ oldest age group is called Pioneers (for eight- to 13-year-olds), and offers sporting activities like basketball, football, tennis and golf. Or they might spend the day at the beach trying watersports like windsurfing or paddle boarding. The good thing about these activities, we find, is that generally the children are all learning them from scratch, so there isn’t the competitiveness there might be with sports they’re more familiar with.

If your teenager isn’t sporty, there are other group activities such as quizzes, go-karting and cookery, along with evening events, and things like trips to water parks where they can hang out with new friends.

If you would like Travel Nanny to answer your question in the next issue of Days Like This, email travelnanny@dayslikethismagazine.com

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