All parents out there know that traveling with kids can be stressful and tiring. As stressful as it might, according to Dr. Margot Sunderland (a British child psychologist and psychotherapist) family holidays have a lot of positive effects on your children – it makes them not only happier, but also smarter. You can read the whole article here www.telegraph.co.uk. Our family loves traveling, and we always travel together as a family…..so I know a thing or two about how stressful it can get, and today I want to share with you my tricks to staying stress free during your next trip:
- plan your vacation according to your children’s age – I was never a big fan of the all inclusive vacations. I love renting a car at our destination and exploring new places, but as our kids are still small, I don’t think that this will be very relaxing and enjoyable type of vacation for everyone:) This is why the last few years we have been booking all inclusive vacations. We would still explore and do sightseeing, but all inclusive allows for a good combination of active vs down time. Once they are a bit older, they would obviously want to be entertained more, etc…..so when you book keep your children’s age in mind and select a trip accordingly.
- research – before your trip do some research on the area you are going to. Check out what kind of stores they have. For example, if you are kids are still wearing dippers, or eating baby food, check if there is a store nearby where you can get all the needed stuff. This way you don’t have to carry too many dippers or baby food, as you can buy all these at your destination.
- get your children excited – our kids love traveling! We started traveling when they were just few weeks old, so they are very much used to everything. But one thing we still do every time is to get them really excited about the trip – whether it will be helping packing, telling them more about where we are going, showing them photos, letting them pack their toys that they want to take along……whatever it might, just get them involved.
- plan activities – just like with anything else, plan how you can keep your kids entertained during your flight/drive, and your vacation……..and I am not talking about keeping them entertained with your pad or mobile. I am talking about what kind of games, activities, sightseeing, etc you can do with your kids.
- packing – I am really not a big fan of washing clothes when I am traveling, so in order to avoid this, I just make sure that I pack double of everything. This way I don’t have to be stressing out when things get dirty (and they will!), and I can just let the kids play and not worry about it.
- carry on – I know that in our carry on we want to take everything and anything, but trust me, it will make your life much easier, if you pack only what is absolutely needed. For very young kids – dippers, baby food, milk, favorite crackers, extra set of cloths (or 2 sets if it is a long flight), a few toys to keep them entertained……and something that will keep them calm. The less you carry, the easier it will be to go through security, etc
- avoid sweets right before the flight / drive – I know we just want our kids to be happy, but try to avoid any kind of sweet treats before your flight or drive. This will keep them happy for a very short period of time, which will be followed by the cranky period.
- nutrition – I know that a lot of parents (especially of young kids) are stressing out about nutrition – but just remember that when kids are in new place, traveling they get excited and are not that interested in food. Which results in them eating less than usual, but this is absolutely normal, so don’t stress yourself and your child about it! The more important part is for you to make sure that they stay hydrated at all time…….trust me when they are hungry they will let you know:)
If you are traveling with very young kids, I have made the following experience:
- get your child to nap during the flight / drive – I know this one is not always easy, but I always had a bottle of milk ready. Whenever they got tired (and cranky) but couldn’t fall asleep, I would give them their bottle of milk, and they would calm down and fall asleep.
- taking a nap in the afternoon – if your child is still taking a nap in the afternoon, make sure that he / she still gets that opportunity. During our beach vacations, I would usually get my kids to nap on the beach (in the shade of course!), or if there was no shade I will just go back to the room for them to rest a bit! Sleep is extremely important for kids, and the problem is that when they don’t get enough sleep (which tends to happen during vacation / travel time), they get very active and cranky.
Each child is different, so what works for me and my kids, might not work for you and your kids…..but just remember that when you are stressed out this affects your kids and their overall mood! So the more relaxed you are prior and during your trip, the more relaxed your kids will be.
Stay healthy and enjoy,
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