There are so many things people look forward to during the Holidays including snow on Christmas Morning, carols by the fire, the look on your family’s face when they open that perfect gift, but traveling (especially with children) is not one of those things.
Traveling with kids can seem daunting. There are so many variables to factor in on top of the already stressful parts of travel. The mere thought of traveling with kids during the Holidays can make you want to just stay home and hunker down.
But the biggest factor for less stressful travel with the kids is planning. Having a game plan will make a world of difference
1. See the silver lining of the meltdowns.
Meltdowns happen when you are a kid. It’s just a fact that kids cry. It is important to remember to acknowledge your child’s emotions and make them feel heard while not encouraging it.
In children and adults, tears help to regulate our stress hormones so, when they have their meltdown they should be able to better regulate their emotions later.
2. If you are traveling with another adult, divide and conquer.
Whether by car or by plane, trying to get children settled can be a hassle. If you can prep the car the night before with their activities and snacks for the kids.
If you are flying, send one adult on the plane first to get the seats settled, put away bags, set up booster sets etc. While they are getting their seats settled you can distract your kids by looking at the other planes, doing some pre-flight stretches etc. By the time you get on the plane, their seats will be settled and you won’t feel rushed to get them ready amid the many other passengers.
3. Pack more than videos and video games.
Sure they will keep your kiddos entertained for a while, but they will then get restless, their eyes will become strained and they will be starved for attention.
Have your children help you pick out what to bring out of their favorite toys, bring books, coloring sets, i-spy games, magnetic versions of your favorite games such as Checkers or Hang Man, and books on tape.
Pack some healthy easy snacks for your children too. While it may seem simple and easy to pack little candy bars, taking a couple minutes to pack something healthier will keep your kiddos from getting those crazy sugar rushes.
4. Know who is on your team.
If you are traveling by air, don’t be afraid to ask the flight attendants for help. They are there to help and can offer some great advice or ideas for your kids such as drawing a picture for the Captain or making puppets out of sick bags.
Remember that airports are more than willing to help as well. Call before you arrive to the airport and express that you will be traveling with small children and they will do what they can to assist you, and guide you through the airport.
5. Practice Self-Care Too.
Remember to care for yourself and manage your own stress. Practice some deep breaths and bring along a favorite treat to give yourself when you need it.
If you feel yourself becoming stressed, do some stretches or other type of calming activity and get your kids involved! It will de-stress you and distract them.
Whether traveling 60 minutes or 60 hours from home, traveling with kids is a process. Remember to have patience with your kids and yourself, and remind yourself, “It’s all part of the adventure.” 🙂