Traveling with a child can be a fun adventure, but it can also be tough on them– and you. Leaving home means encountering things that are unfamiliar and unpredictable, and can be challenging for some children. Here are four tips to help make traveling with a child a more pleasant experience for you, your child and your fellow passengers.
If your child is not a regular traveler, take a little time to describe what they can expect. Talk about every step of your journey, from the Uber ride to the airport, to going through security, boarding and flying. After all, we all do better with new things if we have a sense of what we’re getting into.
You unfortunately can’t bring Tickle Water through security like you want to, but you can bring a few favorite snacks. Some children are particular, so while there are plenty of food options in the airport, they are overpriced, and you might not find something they like. To prevent hunger-related meltdowns, bring several of their favorites. You’ll be particularly glad you did if there are unexpected delays, or if nothing’s open when you land. Maybe even bring along something extra special they like to eat to surprise them with if the going gets tough.
Remember the Comforts of Home
Does you child have their version of a Linus blanket at home? A special pillow, stuffed toy or favorite book that you read together can greatly ease your child’s anxiety over being away from the familiar with that special something that gives them comfort. Smoother travels, and smoother transitions at your destination.
If you have a long car ride or flight, bring things to keep your child occupied. That might be a game that you can all play together, music to listen to, a favorite book, drawing supplies, a portable video game, laptop or tablet. And don’t forget the headphones. If you have screen time restrictions at home, consider being more flexible on the road. Holiday journeys can be long and boring, and a bored child can make for tough traveling for them, you, and those around you.
Traveling can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Keep in mind, teaching your children to be good travelers is a valuable lesson, and it can open a host of opportunities for family adventures. Happy and safe travels!