As we come into the season of road-tripping and summer vacations, I thought I would share with you 4 basic “Rules” for traveling with kids.
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For most people, the only time when the thought of traveling with kids wasn’t frightening was before they actually had kids of their own! Those with children often cringe at the thought of traveling (in any fashion) with their kids in tow. If you are preparing for a trip and have kids, then you are probably experiencing a little anxiety about how you are actually going to manage the logistics of traveling with the kids…without killing anyone!
Don’t worry. It is possible to have an enjoyable trip while traveling with kids. While there’s no guarantee that your children will act like the angels they are for the entire trip, following a few bask rules can help everyone be on their best behavior.
Take Advantage of “Sleep” Hours.
When traveling with young children, you will find it very beneficial to plan the bulk of your traveling during the hours your children normally sleep. For example, if you are traveling by car and your destination is 12 hours away, consider leaving at night, around your kids’ bedtime. You and your spouse/partner can drive in shifts to ensure traveling all night is possible. Then, when the kids wake up in the morning, most of your traveling will have already been done. For plane trips, look for early flights so the kids will rest on the plane ride.
Pack More Than You Think You Need.
This is a very important rule to remember when traveling with children. Always pack more than you think you will need. This goes for all things, but especially toys and books. A toy or book that you think will keep your child entertained for 15-20 minutes, will probably only hold their attention for 5-10 minutes. Therefore, make sure you have plenty of things to keep your child busy. Many parents actually go and purchase a few new toys or books before a big trip and wait until they’re in the midst of traveling before pulling them out. Some of our family favorites include new coloring books and crayons, some type of travel version of a board game etc.
Allow Time for “Pit” Stops.
There is no such thing as a non-stop trip with kids. It doesn’t matter how short of a trip you’re going on…kids aren’t able to sit for hours on end without stopping. It’s important that you give your kids a few opportunities to get out, use the restroom and stretch their legs a little when traveling. An easy way to incorporate “pit” stops in your travel plans is to stop at normal meal times. Stopping to eat usually gives kids at least 30 minutes outside of the vehicle, which will do wonders for them! One of our strategies for long road trips is to try and pack a picnic lunch or supper (which also keeps the budget in check!). If the weather is nice we will stop at a park with a playground. It works great for kids and parents because it helps kids work out a lot of energy and gives parents time to unpack the meal and have it ready without any more meltdowns from kids that are “starving”.
Plan a Few “Fun” Things.
To ensure everyone in the family has a good time, make sure you plan a few activities that your kids will find fun. Having fun activities planned specifically for the kids will not only give them something to look forward to while traveling, but it also gives you some bargaining power as well. “Fun” things can be as simple as stopping for ice-cream or as time-consuming as visiting a popular amusement park. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something the kids will enjoy!
It’s hard to imagine any parent getting excited about traveling with their kids (the actual traveling part, anyways), but if you follow theses tips, the thought and act of traveling with your kids shouldn’t be as stressful. Just remember: kids are kids. They don’t have the patience or attention span of adults; therefore, traveling with them will require a little more thought and patience on your part.
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Have a wonderful day!
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