Traveling with Kids
- Traveling with young children means planning ahead. Allot more time to get from point A to point B.
- Crucial to traveling with young children is food. Have snacks and drinks at the ready.
- Give them the chance to move their bodies whenever possible. If you’re driving, take breaks. If you’re flying and it’s safe to do so, talk a short walk in the aisle.
- Pack an extra set of clothes in case of a problem (spilled milk, lost luggage, etc.)
- Take a few small toys out of circulation several weeks before you travel so they will have some novelty value when you offer them during the trip.
- Purchase a few inexpensive little toys at the Dollar Store. Wrap them in newspaper and dole them out sparingly to your child when boredom seems imminent. Who can resist a wrapped present?
- Bring a few books to read aloud.
- Pack a small pad of paper and washable markers
- You and your child can play many of the games you remember from your childhood even while she is safely strapped into her car sear. Simon Says (“Touch your nose!”) and I Spy (“Can you find something blue?”) easily adapt to traveling.
- Trade off child care duties with your partner. That way each of you gets a short break here and there.
- Have your child pack (and carry!) a backpack with things to occupy their time during travel.
- Books! Read to the non-readers; have your reader bring a selection that will get him through the trip. By the way, if you are reading aloud you are not restricted to books for young children. Children can typically understand a story they may not yet be able to read, so think about a more interesting book that your child hasn’t been exposed to yet.
- Is your voice tired? Try audio books. Your local library will have audio books that will capture your child’s interest.
- Pencil and paper games are great for this age. Again, go back to what you remember. Dots, tic tac toe, word searches and hang man are great.
- Invest in a new Mad Libs. It will keep your family laughing for a long time.
- Give them a camera and put them in charge of documenting the trip. You’ll get to see the entire trip through their eyes—a priceless memory!
- Create tech free times for the entire family. This is a chance to spend focused time together. No one will remember the trip if it’s spent texting friends back home. Park the phones and devices for a specified time and enjoy the trip and each other.
What do parents of teens want? Kids who take responsibility for themselves. This is a great opportunity to let your child practice that skill. Talk to him about what he thinks he will need while you’re in transit and tell him when he has to be ready to walk out the door with his fully packed backpack. Step back and don’t micromanage. And congratulations! You have finally reached the stage of parenthood when you can read a magazine while traveling with children!