Every family will have its own circumstances, but there are two main ways to make triathlon competition a family affair.
One is to get the whole family -- or most of it -- to compete. Many triathlons are designed with categories that include children, sometimes even those so young they need training wheels on their bikes. Typically, there will be various levels of competition divided by age. Unless someone reaches the regional or national levels, there's usually no qualifying time. Often, the children's races will be staged later in the day than the adult competition. As children become teenagers, they may be able to race along with their parents.
If this approach works for your family, there are obvious advantages. At least some of the adults' training can include the kids coming along for the swim, run or ride. The whole family can follow a healthier lifestyle as all train and watch their diet together. For children, triathlons can be a great sport because they're based on individual performance and improvement. Forget problems with playing time and coaches' preferences. And not everybody has to be an Ironman. Many happy triathletes never win a race or even come close. For them, it's all about being healthy and active, having fun and improving their personal best times.
If the triathlon has become a family activity, then combining a race with a vacation is easy. Just turn to one of the many websites that publicize events designed for various age levels, and pick one that's in a location the family wants to visit. Everyone will compete on race day, and the rest of the trip can just be for fun and relaxation.
Often, though, members of a triathlete's family aren't interested in competing. In those cases, the triathlete and the rest of the family need to make a deal. The triathlete will find a good, spectator-friendly race at a great destination, and the whole family will cooperate to make race day a positive part of the vacation.
For tips on involving the rest of the family in the triathlon, keep reading.