It's official. Not going on a winter sun holiday is bad for your health. Latest research shows that the people most likely to suffer from SAD - season affective disorder - are in their thirties (by no coincidence the age most of us become parents) and it's now known that children suffer, too. You're probably only too aware of what the adult signs are, but tell-tale symptoms to look for in your little treasures include bad behaviour and a reluctance to get up. That'll be around 99 per cent of the child (and adult) population, then.
There's only one cure. Unless you want to plonk your entire family in front of a fluorescent light box for hours at a time, it's imperative that you book at least a week in the sun - and quick. You don't have to go halfway round the world to catch your rays, but if you do it helps. Bank manager permitting, good child-friendly destinations for this time of year include Kenya, the Maldives, and, of course the Caribbean - and there are some cracking deals around for half-term.
Companies to check out include Somak, an independent company which is offering savings of around £600 for a family of four staying half-board at the Travellers Beach Hotel in Kenya (020-8423 3000; www.somak.co.uk). Virgin Holidays, too, has half-term deals on some of its all-inclusive holidays, including the spruced-up Almond Morgan Bay St Lucia, which has a free kids' club and babysitting (0870-220 2788; www.virginholidays.co.uk/megadeals).
If you'd rather stay a bit closer to home, try Portugal, or the Canary Islands, where temperatures settle at a child-friendly 70C and there's an average of around seven hours a day of sunshine. Sovereign has some late deals at the clifftop Sheraton Algarve, which has a choice of four swimming pools to lounge by (0870-366 1626; sovereign.com), while Elegant Resorts can whisk you off to the Bahia del Duque in Tenerife for five-star luxury for all the family (01244 897777; www.elegantresorts.co.uk).
Half-term is drawing near, so you'll need to get your skates on to catch the good deals. The only drawback is that you'll have to get out of bed first - a tall order, but it'll be worth it. After all, it's for the sake of your family's health.
KATY'S TOP TIP
If you can't get out of bed, let Quo Vadis, an independent holiday consultant, do the hard work for you. Tell them what you want and they'll do the rest (01279 639600; www.quovadistravel.co.uk).
Katy Holland is deputy editor of 'Mother and Baby' and motherand babymagazine.com. She has written several books on childcare.Reuse content