Separate Vacations for Parents and Kids Advice

Written by Ashley Ball

Successfully get away this winter without guilt. Here are some camps that will have the kids saying: Mom and Dad who?

I can't believe you had that evil thought. 

Goodbye Mudda, Goodbye Fadda .
Alleviate guilt, add glamour. Send the kids to one of the Swiss camps, take yourself to Italy, and meet up after.
Call ahead and talk to the counselors before you sign up. It's good prescreening, and they can help you deal with homesickness.
Don't feel bad if they aren't homesick (it happens!) Remember, they hunger to be away from you, too.
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How could you even think about going off on your own and leaving those little angels? How could you be looking forward to dinners alone, dressing up and adult conversation the topic of which is not how uncool you are? 

Shame on you. For your penance, listen to three Britney Spears singles and MTV for an hour. 

And then do it anyway. This winter, give yourself and your kids the best gift you could ever ask for: a break from each other. 

Joseph Buhler has been in the travel industry for 32 years, serving as chairman of the European Travel Commission's U.S. division. The Zurich-born travel expert's slight Swiss accent gives him a "c'est la vie" sound; one gets the impression that nothing shocks him. Not even parents who want to spend the holidays without their kids. 

"It brings up a number of issues," he admits when asked if most parents wouldn't feel guilty about gadding off while the Christmas wrapping and tinsel are still fresh. "Parents feel the children are not having fun when they are stuck home with the nannies and such." An alternative is choosing a hotel that offers kids' programs during the day, but those programs can inspire even more guilt. The kids are right there, for chrissakes, you can see them making their sad little lanyards in the lobby while you're sitting out by the pool. 

The answer is so simple: When you go on vacation, your kids should get to go to camp. Not some boring day camp, but one that amounts to a mixer-cum-fully supervised vacation; a cute, active peer group, theirs for the taking. Think of it as college prep.

Buhler's research dug up these little gems. Send your kids here for the winter holiday, and go on your merry way without guilt. They'll be too busy working on their skiing, dressage and astronaut skills to care where you've gone. Mom and Dad who

Les Elfes, Switzerland

Windells Snowboarding Camp

Haut du Lac

Space Camp

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