Okay, it did feel a little uncomfortable as a single male alone in a Spa Resort. However, I do have an excuse I was on assignment as a guest of Yasuragi Spa Resort in Sweden to see how the Yasuragi Kids package helps parents and children disconnect and reconnect.
Yasuragi is what can only be described as a little piece of Zen only 30 mins from Stockholm. It's a Japanese-style spa resort with hot baths, saunas and plunge pools and plenty of relaxation spaces which soak up the vista of the pristine forests and waterways of Stockholm harbour.
Zen is only 30 mins from Stockholm
After about 2 hours of arriving at Yasuragi, it suddenly dawned on me. I was surrounded by families who had respectful and polite children. There were no tantrums, there was no squabble between siblings, it was the art of gentle conversations happening all around me.
Families with respectful and polite children
So what's the secret behind Yasuragi to create peaceful and harmonious behaviour between parents and children? On reflection, I observed five things which could be the secret to disconnecting and reconnecting as a family.
There was no one with their "heads in" a screen. There was free wifi, but it was not being used!
Tip: So leave it in the room, not the kids, the devices we all those wifi connected screens. Without having a device the moments of silence or fidgeting will disappear you just have to trust the process and your senses.
Families and children were enjoying sitting around having small conversations or just partaking in an activity that did not require a screen. It was the simple things that were killing the fidgets.
tip: Pick up a paper book or kindle (not connected) and read, or try doodling on a blank piece of paper or colouring an adult colouring book. These simple activities will help take your mind away from the devices.
People were sitting and observing for periods of time. I noticed while sitting still for long enough my hearing started to become more tuned into my environment. It wasn’t long before my hearing was picking faint bird sounds from a distance.
Sitting around is an art, so if you felt restless at Yasuragi, it was easy to find another relaxing activity like soaking in a hot bath, or simply enjoying a Japanese tea or fresh fruit was a great way to break the restfulness feeling.
The majority of visitors to Yasuragi do so to experience the art of Japanese bath. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but washing hot water over your body, soaking in hot baths, breathing warm steam into your lungs and plunging into an ice bath has an amazing effect on your skin and your senses to touch. I would bet its one on the main reasons all the kids at Yasuragi were so chilled and relaxed. Maybe we should start put our children in warm baths when they have those horrible tantrums!
Food has an amazing ability to bring people together. Dining at Yasuragi was like the perfect sushi roll. Families were able to pick and choose from an incredible fresh range of Japanese dishes. It was meal time that I noticed the high level or engagement that was happening with parents through intelligent conversations. Once again no devices to be spotted!
I hope one day I can get back with my family to Sweden to experience another 24 hours of pure relaxation and enhancement of my senses, from visiting Yasuragi. If not, I now know some simple things I can take away from this experience to help with the disconnect and reconnect when taking family holidays with the kids.
Have you been to Yasuragi? Or know of a similar resort that helps reconnect families from their busy schedules and family life. Feel free to leave a comment or share with friends and relatives that would find Yasuragi beneficial.
P.S I will leave my iPhones and iPad in the room while dining on vacation, and will only use them for making phone calls when required on holidays.
James is the founder of Little Nomads a family-focused travel site where he shares his experiences about travelling with kids. You can have a conversation with James on twitter @littlenomads or via his Facebook page.