The Temperament and Travel series returns to the trait of Sensitivity–this time with a look at travel with the Low-Sensitivity child (click here for the previous post on Travel with the Highly Sensitive Child). A quick look back at the opposite ends of the Sensitivity spectrum:
Highly sensitive – Is he easily upset by loud noises, bright lights, and stimulating environments? Does he wake up easily from unexpected noises?
Low sensitivity – Could he happily go about his business in the middle of a tornado? Do you need to remind him to adjust his volume in some social settings, or not to play with other children’s toys without asking?
Advice for Travel with the Low-Sensitivity Child
This child has few inhibitions, and usually few complaints, which makes him an easy travel companion in many respects. However…
You may want to avoid red-eye and overnight long-haul flights and train rides where he might not sense or appreciate that other passengers are trying to sleep before he is ready to.
This can also be an issue when adapting to a new time zone in a poorly insulated hotel. You can help get him “in the zone” by implementing the same bedtime routines as at home–even putting on pajamas for sleeping on the airplane–and encouraging a sleepytime snack (low in sugar, high in tryptophan like pumpkin seeds and nuts). A familiar travel bed may be helpful when staying elsewhere, too.
When visiting memorials and holy places, be sure to explain to toddlers and preschoolers ahead of time what makes the place extra special and what you will and won’t do while visiting it (eg. cathedrals have wonderful acoustics for singers!).
Remember to check in with your child frequently to make sure he is comfortable, otherwise he might just “keep on trucking” through a busy day out, not noticing his discomfort until it becomes a real problem–like carsickness, low blood sugar, or dehydration.
Also, be aware that low-sensitivity can sometimes amplify other traits. For example…
An Eager Child with low sensitivity may talk the ear off a stranger during your train ride—which can be great, so long as the stranger doesn’t mind.
A High-Energy Child with low sensitivity may literally climb the walls, which won’t be a problem if you vacation somewhere with a nearby playground and plenty of suitable structures for him to climb!
Read More from the Temperament and Travel Series:
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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.
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning Travels with Baby guidebooks
What?! Your kids aren’t babies anymore? Head over to Family Travel 411