Tips for Traveling with Your Child this Holiday Season
Don’t put the horse before the cart this holiday season. Traveling with a child can be demanding both before and during your family trip. You may be worried about getting wherever you are going in one piece, but there are some simple steps that you can take to ensure that your travels this season are as easy as possible.
1. Take your Time
You should always make sure that you have some extra time when traveling. This should help you keep your cool when dealing with possible stalling, temper tantrums, toilet breaks, and/or a colicky newborn. It should also help relieve the pressure of getting to where you are going ‘on time’ if you know that you are already prepared with a comfortable margin of error.
2. Remember the Medicine
You should always keep in mind the immune system of you and your family. When traveling during the holidays you are most likely going to come into contact with your fair share of germs. You may find it helpful to have some medicine ready and available to deal with possible fevers or trouble sleeping. You also may find it helpful to have daily vitamins or preventative medicines packed that can help to boost the immune system such as Airborne, which should give your family a better chance of returning home as healthy as when you left.
3. Remember to Pack First Aid
Having a first aid kit packed and ready for use is a handy way to deal with minor issues and can make a world of difference when dealing with a scraped knee or insect bite/sting during your travels. It can also keep you from having to drive around, find, and spend time inside of stores during family time. You may also find it useful to exploit the psychological effect it can have on your child. A band-aid can go a long way in drying up those tears after a minor accident.
4. Make Sure to Plan, Then Plan More
You can never be too prepared, especially when it comes to traveling during the holidays. You should plan for the worst and expect the unexpected. If you are overly prepared then you should be ready for whatever happens.
5. Role Play to Prepare
Depending on the age of your child, you may want to try and role play to prepare them for all the fun of flying. By making a game of this, you can help teach them about all the exciting stuff they will see, and people they might meet such as train conductors, pilots, or airline attendants. This may also help you and your child discuss safety practices when you are en-route. It may also just be a really fun way for you to introduce travel to your children and get them excited with the thought of it, which may also help reduce their fears when it comes to the real thing.
6. Bring Baby Wipes
Baby wipes can be super useful when it comes to cleaning up quickly and efficiently while you are on the go. Don’t underestimate the usefulness of these when it comes to packing for travel. They can provide you with the ability to wipe down surfaces that may be a little dirty and/or wash hands and faces without having to take the whole family into a public restroom. These should certainly make your life a little easier by providing a fast solution to save you time and hassle.
Read More: 12 Awesome Home Treatments for Diaper Rash
7. Keep It as Simple as Possible
You probably don’t ever intentionally make things more difficult for yourself on purpose. Being mindful of all that can go wrong, and by designing your travel plans to be as simple as possible, you are engineering mishaps which you control out of your itinerary. Besides, most systems will work best when you keep them simple rather than overcomplicating things.
The other side of the coin here is making sure that you aren’t packing too much so you can reduce the amount of luggage that you need to keep track of on the go. It’s one thing to deal with the setbacks of businesses such as delays or detours, let alone adding the extra and unnecessary stress of excess baggage. This also has the potential to make it more difficult when you need to find something, like the first aid kit, tablet, or even stuffed animal in a hurry.
8. Write Notes for Your Fellow Passengers
If you are using public transportation such as planes, trains, and/or busses then you may want to consider your fellow passengers when making travel plans. This may help you if and when you need to address any situation involving an excited or unruly child during your trip.
The last thing you probably want to worry about is the reaction of others when it comes to your children. Writing a note in advance explaining that your child is excited, or even apologizing if there is an unexpected tantrum might make a significant difference in the understanding and patience of others. It might also save you the hassle of dealing with a complete stranger’s reaction while simultaneously addressing situations involving your children.
9. Get There Early
When you are traveling, the biggest favor you can do for your mental health is to arrive early. This is especially true when it comes to timed departures in public transportation, but can also be equally important if you are heading out on a road trip in the family vehicle. The more of a cushion that you provide for your family means that you won’t need to stress about staying in a small time window for getting where you are going. This can easily be the most effective way of avoiding arguments or bad attitudes when it comes to traveling.
10. Comfort is King…or Queen
This should be a key component of any journey that you are undertaking. It can make a big difference in your physical and mental health when you have to sit for long periods. Having a good seat cushion, or neck support can be the reason that you arrive at your destination free of any aches and pains from long periods of immobility. This can be especially true when it comes to cramped conditions.
For flying, finding one of the 10 best airplane seat covers can help you maintain good posture and reduce most symptoms of hip and back problems by keeping your spine properly aligned and reducing imbalance and stiffness. They can also help keep your children comfortable enough to possibly help them stay at bay longer.
11. Travel Around the Circadian Rhythm
Using the circadian rhythm can be one of the most useful tools for making any lengthy trip much easier on your family. Whether you have a newborn, toddler, or teenager, there are going to be times of day where they have more energy, as well as times when it will be sapped. Taking advantage of these periods can significantly improve the quality of your travel.
12. Stop Regularly for Toilet Breaks
You know that the dreaded “I don’t need to go” can quickly turn into an emergency when it comes to the bladders of children. It can also add to overall stress when needing to clean up an accident. It is a best practice to plan for bathroom breaks along the way, even if you end up bypassing some as a result of a well-planned route. In the spirit of arriving at your destination accident-free, it is better to have too many opportunities than too few in this case.
13. Bring Entertainment
Depending on the age and interests of your family, especially children, what you pack for entertainment might differ. It can be a useful tool to give your children an outlet and even using their creativity as a method for keeping things calm. You should think about what is going to keep things easy but allow your children to concentrate on something while spending long periods unable to get up and run around. You might want to bring along a couple of crayons and some paper, an action figure, Barbie, or even a tablet. Who knows, you might even end up with a great drawing to hang on the refrigerator to commemorate the family trip.
14. Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself
Don’t forget to take care of yourself while you are spending all that energy planning and packing, then planning more and finally traveling. Ensuring that you are in good form can help you more effectively deal with any bumps or bruises along the way. You can do this by making sure you and your family are getting the proper amount of sleep leading up to, and during your travel. Try planning in stops that allow children to get some energy out and give you the opportunity to slow down for a moment. This can make all the difference when it comes to dealing with the stress of traveling. It can also make the trip more enjoyable for the whole family!