Already on your way? Or just heading out the door? Here are some tips to keep handy to help DURING holiday travel with kids.
Let your child document your trip.
Smartphones make it easier than ever to turn your wee traveler into an aspiring videographer. Put your child in charge of collecting photos and/or video to help tell the story of your trip to friends and family during or after your holiday travels. If they have a favorite stuffy, it could even be the story of HIS adventure! Just remember to bring your charger…
Remember the Rochambeau!
Sometimes squirrely kids on the plane or train or in the back seat just need a physical way to express themselves in spite of sitting still. Channeling that energy into playdough (not for airplanes), or Wikki Stix creations, stacking cups, building with Legos or Mega Blocks, thumb wrestling, or just resorting to good old Rock-Paper-Scissors (a.k.a. Rochambeau!).
Don’t overdue the screen time (the exception being #1!).
It’s easy to dodge the choruses of, “Are we almost there yet?” by simply sticking a screen in your kids face (I know, and I’ve done it, too). But too much screen time will have its consequences (the grouchies, withdrawal, not enough physical activity = impossible to put to bed, not actually interacting with the loved ones you came to visit…). Set clear timelines (even a timer, or use a built-in timer like “only during flight time”) for when games and other e-activities can be enjoyed, and when it will be time to turn it off. And be sure you have plenty of screen-free favorites to help them pass the time during travel, too (click here to see some of our screen-free favorites to keep kids entertained during long flights).
Remember the stroller is your friend.
When you travel with small kids, the stroller can feel like one more thing you might opt to leave behind when juggling too many people, suitcases, and holiday gifts to boot. But that stroller may not only help you schlep more, it can also be a real safety enhancement (and sanity saver) as you need hands free to grab bags off the carousel or use the restroom—moments you can’t exactly go sprinting off after your own Prancer or Dancer.
Make meaningful pit stops.
Remember, making good time doesn’t always make for a good time! When driving with babies, toddlers and little kids, make the most of each stop to address all those basic needs—stretching, drinking, walking, taking a potty break, getting a change of scenery from that of the back seat. Just a “Mini-Market Safari” can actually supply all that if you do it right! Also, remember these favorite family pit stops in crummy weather for more ideas.
For more on-the-go tips to help DURING travel with your children, download a copy of Take-Along Travels with Baby: Hundreds of Tips to Help During Travel with Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler, available for Kindle & most ebook readers and also for Nook.
Good luck, everyone, and happy holidays!!!
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning Travels with Baby guidebooks