The thought of traveling with kids is enough to make some parents break into a sweat and considering never leaving the house again. It doesn’t have to be difficult though, a bit of planning and forethought and this could be the best time you’ve ever spent with your family.
A fully rested child will be bouncing off the walls and could be an energetic nightmare. Aim to book your flights or travel around your child’s play and rest schedule. If it’s a shorter flight, try to wear them out beforehand so that they sleep (or at least play quietly) on the plane.
This is important because not only does it keep the kids busy during your trip, it likewise gives them a sense of the familiar. Don’t forget the busier and more entertained kids are, the less likely they are to get bored and kick up a fuss. Pack items like a colouring book and crayons, a picture book, puzzles and an Etch-a-Sketch. IPads and tablets are best kept for later, because it is difficult to switch back to crayons once technology has got a hold of them.
Just as it is important to pack items which give your child a sense of familiarity, it is equally important to not pack every toy your child owns. If you will be staying in a hotel during your trip, you might want to consider not travelling with your child’s favourite toy or blanket, as these items may sometimes be forgotten or lost. It is also good to consider insurance for your belongings in case they get lost, although replacement for a small stuffed rabbit with most of the fur missing and only one eye left will likely not be covered.
As per the previous tip, this is to help you avoid lugging around a heap of stuff you don’t need. A small stroller is preferable, or a baby carrier is even easier. Consider using a child harness if you will be travelling with more than one child.
Regardless of how certain you are of the foods your child is or isn’t allergic to, trying new foods can be fraught. Always have an option for them that is familiar and safe- even if it’s just fries. Forcing them to try unfamiliar foods may result in a mini revolt.
When packing food for the trip, try to pack as few sugary snacks as possible. Start them on fruit and save the sweet stuff for emergencies. A lot of pre-packed food is remarkably high in sugar, avoid it.
If you will be travelling by air, arrange to arrive there in plenty of time, as hauling children in a hurry through security will give you nightmares for the rest of your life. Then, enjoy having space to sit and chill out at the airport. Often families are given an early boarding call so you have time to organise yourselves on the plane, take full advantage of this.
If you are travelling with older children, it is always good to make them responsible for their activities and belongings. Assigning responsibilities will create an illusion of independence and will make the kids less fussy, giving you one thing less to worry about.
Children will reflect your behaviour, so if you freak out, so will they. For the sake of your sanity, try not to freak out every time your little one cries, yells, or talks loudly. Children will always be children and the people around you will accept that, within reason. The best thing to do is make them comfortable, keep them entertained and be as cool, calm, and collected as possible.
Keep safety in mind at all times. Do not let your child wander unsupervised, and establish a means of communication as well as an agreed upon meeting point for if you ever get separated.
It is extremely easy to get caught up in the stress of travelling with kids and forget to take some time out and play with your kids. Make up games, show them new things especially if it’s their first time travelling, take pictures, document your journey and help your child make unforgettable memories.