Today we continue the “Temperament and Travel” series on Temperament and Travel with the “Intensity” trait, and particularly advice for travel with the intense child. Please note: Grownups and children alike may have more than one dominant temperament trait (you could call them overlapping), and where Intensity is concerned–whether at the very intense or the very mellow end of the spectrum–it may be especially helpful to recognize the other temperament traits your child has at work.
If you’re just joining in, you might want to see some of the previous articles in the bi-weekly series offering advice for traveling with children of varying temperaments:
Advice for Travel with a High-Energy Child
Advice for Travel with a Low-Energy Child
Advice for Travel with the Eager Child
Advice for Travel with the Cautious Child
Advice for Travel with the Very Regular Child
Advice for Travel with the Unpredictable Child
Advice for Travel with the Fast-Adapting Child
Advice for Travel with the Slow-Adapting Child
Intensity: Intense vs. Mellow
Do either of these traits sound like the young traveler in your life?
Intense – Does he express his likes and dislikes on a grand scale? Does he use his body to help express his feelings, tensing muscles or emphasizing with his hands?
Mellow – Do you need to watch closely or ask to know if he is enjoying something or not? Do you need to remind him to take off his jacket when he gets too warm?
Advice for Travel with the Intense Child
Watch vigilantly for your child’s cues, especially if he’s beginning to show signs of overstimulation, fatigue, or discomfort. You’ll want to address any of his needs or concerns before they escalate.
Although it’s important not to give in to unrealistic requests or misbehavior, it will be wise to try to uncover and address the deeper need (e.g., low blood sugar, fatigue, a frustration from not being heard, boredom, anxiety about what’s coming next) so that everyone can proceed happily with the vacation—or flight.
If he acts out in a public space (of which there are so many during travel!), do your best to remain calm and use a normal speaking voice. Remember–especially if you are of an intense temperament yourself–that yelling will only throw more fuel on his fire.
If he throws a tantrum in the car, stop when it is safe and get to the bottom of the real problem.
Take heart. Although you may need to stay on your toes much of the time traveling with this child, you will also be rewarded for your efforts with outstanding displays of his joy and delight when things go right.
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More tips and advice are on the way! For help for planning travel of every kind–with babies and children of every temperament–in Travels with Baby: The Ultimate Guide for Planning Travel with Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler.
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