Dreading that family vacation as much as looking forward to it? You’re not alone. Traveling with young children can be daunting, but here are a few helpful reminders for how to approach it. Remember that your children are probably very excited about the prospect of traveling to an out-of-the-ordinary place–especially if they don’t frequently travel–and excitement can sometimes present as misbehavior. We’re plenty familiar with travel fatigue, too, and weariness coupled with ennui is a recipe for undesirable behavior, from whining to complete meltdowns. Our number one tip for traveling with kiddos is, “Stave off boredom.”
1. Equip your child with entertainment. Even if you usually don’t allow TV at home, now may be the time to bend that rule. It’s worth it, and even if your child won’t sit with headphones and listen to their portable show, chances are that the picture on the screen will be enough to distract them for a while. In the same vain, allow them access to your own technology. If your tablet or iPhone is usually off limits to your children, now is the time to make an exception. Pick up a sturdy protective case and a few aps they can use. Not only will the novelty and specialness of this privilege serve as a solid distraction from travel-time woes, being able to do something they aren’t usually permitted to do will make the trip all the more special in your child’s memories.
2. Be prepared for messes. If your child is still in diapers or pull-ups, come prepared with a plastic bag tucked inside each diaper. If you’re flying, before take-off, slip all your changing supplies (a few diapers, wipes, changing mat, desitin, etc) into the side-pocket of your chair for easy breezy access. Allow your child to travel in one-piece pajamas. That way, in the inevitable case of a spill or accident, you’ll only have one article of clothing to worry about. And for yourself? Be certain to bring along a spare t-shirt. Mom’s and dad’s clothing will undoubtedly be casualties in the event of a mess, and you’ll appreciate having a fresh change of clothes to travel in when disaster strikes!
3. Pack light. Manage to limit yourself to one carry-on. You’ll be glad you did when you’ve got your living carry-ons to look after. If your child is old enough to have their own, however, let them bring it along! Some roll-along luggage in which they can pack their own entertainment and necessities will give them something to manage, let them feel trusted and, most importantly, free up space in your own bag. Trunkis are some of the very best roll-along luggage out there. (They’re cute, durable, and your child can ride on them and be pulled along!) But any quality kids luggage will work! Tuck a few toys, books and snacks inside and voila! You’re on your way to a successful trip with the children.