Forbes
updated 6/30/2005 8:45:27 PM ET 2005-07-01T00:45:27

Pity the poor parent who does not pony up to take their progeny off to either the mountains or the shore for spring vacation.

These days in many circles it is no longer acceptable just to stay put at home. After all, your children's' friends are all going away to ski or scuba dive. Usually at some fancy resort, no less. So unless you want your kids to suffer through years of therapy--not to mention social opprobrium--because you deprived them of a chance to watch television in a different time zone, it is time to get with the program.

Fortunately, these days the concept of a family vacation is a relatively civilized one. It no longer means traveling in the holiday-equivalent of steerage class, cramming everyone into the back of the Buick and beelining it for the Grand Canyon.

That is because hotels and resorts are getting smart about realizing that by catering to kids' needs, they also serve the parents'. Increasingly, major luxury hotel chains, such as Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Four Seasons Hotels are offering kids' programs that not only entertain and occasionally educate your offspring but also, best of all, give Mom and Dad a chance to enjoy a vacation of their own.

The end result is that the whole family gets a chance to indulge themselves. There's golf and tennis and spas and fine dining for the adults, and snorkeling and cookouts and acrobatics for the kids. Every day your kids will be out learning new things, perfecting their ground stroke, making friends and just breathing plenty of fresh air. Sure beats spending two weeks at home playing video games.

And, yes, these places are often quite expensive--particularly during spring--so the cost of a seven-day trip for four can get pretty expensive. But, look at it like this: What's better, giving your children an awesome vacation that they can brag about to their friends when they return to school or paying for years of therapy?

© 2012 Forbes.com

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