Oil and water. Orange juice and toothpaste. Children and spas. It used to be that there were certain things in life you just knew didn’t go together.
While your children might be the reason you sought out a wellness retreat, chances are your idea of downtime never included the privilege of wrestling your sons apart to the sound of Thai gongs and chirping birds in a spa waiting room.
But, that moment may be coming.
Kids stressed out over YouTube gameplay, eight-hour sleep schedules and parents who feed them healthy meals are being taken to places where they can have their tootsies massaged and faces soothed all while enjoying an organic fruit smoothie.
To be fair, in many ways it is a tough time to be a kid. They’ve got selfies to take and Instagram likes to count. These days, kids are stressing out at an age when I was most concerned about whether Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran was cuter than John Taylor. (He wasn’t.) How are they supposed to find inner peace?
With parents constantly throwing around the buzzword “wellness" as they head to yoga class and embrace Keto diet plans, it’s no wonder their mini-mes want to join in.
These spots have jumped on the trend, offering your kids everything from a moment of relaxation to a life-changing path to their best selves.
The Baby: You’re six months old and everything – from your housing to your roommates – is new. How do you handle the stress? You hope that someone thinks to get you to Spain. The Baby Spa in Madrid offers the newborn crowd the kind of surroundings full grown adults would enjoy. The babies (twins get a two-for-one price!) float around ultraviolet-ray sanitized, warm water pools in patented baby floaties. Silence is encouraged and after floats the babes can expect South African grapeseed oil massages. The goal of the treatments is to relax the baby, which the spa says helps with sleeping, colic and eating. And don’t think there isn’t anything in it for parents. Mom and baby (age 0-6 months) Pilates classes help you relax, too.
The Mini-Diva: Homework, siblings and parents: All good reasons to escape to a place where you can chill. Options have grown over the years for little kids who are intent on a spa day. Most treatments will require an adult nearby, but the little ones can (and will) just pretend you’re not there until it’s time to pay. Scooops – an ice-cream themed spa at Great Wolf Lodge – draws in kids who’ve tired of watching their parents have all the mani/pedi/facial fun. Treatments start at $35, but you can also splash out on the Little Miss Great Wolf package ($110), which offers a manicure, pedicure, lip gloss application, sash and wolf lock hair extension along with “sparkles and a scrumptious smelling hair shot.”
The Enlightened Child: Meditation is so much easier when you don’t have to balance it with the temptation of your PS4 or requests to stop for dinner. Rayya Kids’ Wellness Programmes at The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel in Dubai offer opportunities for those Zen-seeking children to get the space they need to unwind. Kids aged 4-12 can calm their spirits through programs “specially designed to give children the inspiration, education and tools to change their habits for the better …” The program combines information on healthy living, including cooking classes and motivating resources in the “Kids Wellness Library,” and helps them with opportunities that “revitalise the body and elevate the spirit.”
The Spirited Teen: The older the teen the more choices there are for wellness getaways. At the Canyon Ranch Spa in Tucson, kids aged 14-17 can take part in an extensive list of services as long as they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. The Spiritual Wellness options on the teen menu include treatments such as the Soul Journey (“a guided inner journey to explore your spiritual nature”). If your teen isn’t quite ready for that level of self-awareness, an aromatherapy massage or yoga class may be more to their liking.
The Whole Family: Families with both teens and younger kids will love the Therme Laa Hotel Silent Spa in Austria. In the noise-allowed area, younger kids can don mermaid tails and join artist workshops with the hotel’s entertaining staff. Meanwhile, teens (over 16) can join their parents and participate in lavish spa treatments and enjoy saunas. Talkative teen or ever-nagging parent? The spa’s silent room mandates that conversations come to a halt. There may be no better gift you can give each other.