You generally need to make some concessions when travelling with your kids, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done successfully, and the whole experience can be made richer as the result of taking your kids with you. Children see the world through different eyes and having them with you will help you to see things you wouldn’t otherwise have even noticed. Here’s some ideas about how to handle your kids whilst you’re on the road
If your the sort of person who likes to plan everything in advance, then try not to squeeze too much into your itinerary. It will be much more enjoyable for everyone if they are able to spend longer periods at one attraction than to try and fit two or three into a single afternoon. If you’re travelling with other adults or older children, chat to them in advance about responsibilities. It might be a good idea to split chores so that the workload of dealing with the children is spread out so that everyone can enjoy themselves.
Traveling With Kids
Travelling by car
The trouble with driving is that you will be concentrating on the road and won’t be able with and entertain your kids much beyond a game of ‘I Spy’. If you’re planning to do a lot of driving, it’s always best to do it at night or early in the morning when your little ones will be sleepy. A car drive can easily be done after their bedtime, and even if they don’t actually sleep, they’ll be less likely to be climbing the walls and calling out for sweets and toilet breaks every few minutes. If you’re doing the driving, pack the car up in advance and get your kids dressed in their pajamas before tucking them up inside.
It’s hard to keep an eye on the kids when you’re focused on the road and they’re sitting behind you. Try fitting an extra mirror and train it on the back seat so that you can safely keep an eye on them while you drive.
- Keep them occupied with something a bit different from their normal games and toys. Try giving older kids a map with locations to tick off as they are passed. This will help them feel they are helping to navigate and are a part of the journey. Make a home-made map for younger children with highlights to look out for – this will help them visualise how far there is to go.
- Provide your children with their own travel bags for the car and ask them to fill it with their own choices of games, toys and diversions.
- Take their favourite storybook.
- For older children take their tech appliances. Games on hand held devices will keep them occupied for hours.
- A headrest DVD player will also entertain the kids. Take their favourite movies to play.
Do you know whether your children get travel sick? There are few things that feel worse than being nauseous, and a child that is feeling unwell will be miserable, and this will impact of everyone. Be careful of what you feed them before setting off (try not to feed them milk and orange juice at the same time, for example!) and stock up on some effective preventative medication in advance. Instil into them that they must tell you if they start to feel sick. Many children try very hard to hold on until it’s too late.
Take a supply of wet wipes and plastic bags just in case.
Travelling by plane
Always have a simple toy on hand to amuse bored kids while waiting for flights or connections. You’ll already have plenty of stuff to carry around so won’t want to take too many extras. Again for older children their tech games will keep them occupied. Little ones can be taken for walks around the airport to explore. This not only keeps them occupied but helps to tire them out. Take their favourite toy and a book to colour in or read will entertain them. Getting children to play with something they enjoy will mean they won’t irritate other passengers and try to have something they can play with on their own, with you, or even with other kids.
Different airlines have varying approaches to handling children on-board their flights. Some will pamper them with kids’ menus and colouring books. Others will offer absolutely nothing. So give them a call in advance to find out what’s available and whether you need to take some spare snacks and activities along for the ride.
Some children may be scared of the idea of getting in a machine that flies through the air very fast – after all some adults find it terrifying. Just talk to them about it beforehand and explain every part of the check-in and security process as you go. It can be daunting for children to put their shoes on the conveyor belt and wave them goodbye!
Try and wear them out as much as possible at the airport. Let them run around and don’t worry too much because it will be a lot more important to you that they are quiet and tired when they get on board the plane! Try to get on the plane first and set up before everyone else gets in the way. If there are two adults, it might be a good idea to split up for boarding. One of you can go ahead with all the hand luggage while the other stays with the kids at the gate. This way one of you can get everything organized on-board and the children get a little bit more time to run around and expend some energy.
Travelling on public transport
Using public transport in an unfamiliar location can be unnerving for anyone, but with kids in tow, it can be even more difficult. It goes without saying that you should adhere to all safety instructions. Always ensure small children are strapped into their prams and apply the parking brake whenever you stop, even if it’s just for a moment. Make sure to leave extra time so you’re not in a rush and try to avoid the peak periods at the start and end of the working day.
Travel as light as you can possible manage and if your stroller or pushchair can fold up, so much the better. Perhaps you could try carrying little ones in body harnesses instead. Plan your journey in advance. The more you know about your itinerary, fares, possible waiting times, transfer locations, and walking distances before you leave your accommodation, the better your journey will be. There are plenty of trip planning and bus tracking apps available these days for mobile devices so use modern technology to help you.
Exploring crowded places
Before you enter a crowded public space (or even a quiet one), have a chat with your children about the dangers of wandering off any why they must not do it. Teach them that if they do get lost, that they should look for a policeman or other mums with kids to ask for help. Also choose a clear meeting spot for older children where you can meet them if they do get lost. If you’re really concerned, or you know that your kids do have a habit of disappearing, then dress both yourself and them in brightly coloured clothing. As you each scan crowds of people to find each other, it will be easier if you’re both wearing a sunshine yellow coat or bright red t-shirt.
You might want to consider investing in a monitor . You carry a tracking device and your child wears a sensor around their wrist. Set a range you’re happy with and if your child ventures beyond this distance, an alarm will sound. You can even set the sensor to beep so that you have an extra, auditory guide to help find your child.