Gardening with Allen

3 Tips For Travelling With Kids

Nobody likes to admit it, but sometimes traveling for a vacation can be just as stressful as a regular workweek. When traveling with kids, especially infants and toddlers, it can be markedly more stressful. Although nothing is likely to eliminate the stress of traveling with kids entirely, there are a few things parents can do to ease it substantially.

Pause before acting

Every parent knows that the urge to bark orders to a misbehaving child is a powerful one, but it seldom, if ever, provides any positive results. Instead, parents might benefit from taking a deep breath, understanding that traveling puts stress on kids as well as adults and practicing a calm, firm and non-controlling approach to discipline.

Many children, perhaps even all of them, possess an innate resistance to rigid authority. On the other hand, when parents discipline their children in a way that makes the desired behavior feel like a choice, there is typically far less resistance.

Consider entertainment

When adults are bored, minutes feel like hours; when children are bored, however, they feel as though they are being eternally punished for no reason, and they will often seek to entertain themselves by driving their parents bonkers.

When traveling, it is important that parents keep their kids as entertained as possible, and the longer the trip, the more entertainment parents should consider. This may not ensure that children are as quiet and well behaved as their parents would like, but it will almost certainly alleviate some travel monotony, which is better than nothing.

There are, of course, countless ways to entertain older children, but entertaining toddlers, especially while traveling, is a bit trickier. The Berkeley Parents Network makes some excellent suggestions; things like Play-Doh, coloring books, DVDs and magnetic playing sets can all effectively entertain toddlers. While it might not be a parent’s dream to listen to Spongebob Squarepants for hours on end, most would prefer it to a temper tantrum.

Be prepared

This sounds like a no-brainer cliche, but parents often get overwhelmed when planning for a trip and forget to pack things that will make traveling with their kids far easier. For example, forgetting a toddler’s favorite stuffed animal or blanket could result in a meltdown that was otherwise avoidable.

If it helps, parents can prepare a checklist of necessities a couple of days before the trip, adding things they may have overlooked as the trip grows closer.

It is also important for parents to plan their outings accordingly once they get where they’re going. This is especially true for any activity that might require parents to walk long distances. For example, running out of diapers or not having a decent diaper backpack will result in parents having to carry a wet, cranky toddler on their shoulders, which is no fun for anyone.

While reaching a destination is always great, the act of reaching it is usually a drag. Parents can, however, mitigate travel stress with a bit of due diligence. When parents effectively manage their tempers, keep their children as entertained as possible and do not forget anything crucial while packing, traveling with kids is much easier.

Allen Wilson

Allen has been writing about gardening for over 30 years. He is a retired professor of Horticulture.