Traveling with young children can be torture. It doesn’t only put stress on the kids and their parents, but especially when flying think about everybody else in the plane. We all have a story about spending too much time on a plane with too many screaming kids in our near vicinity. I’m still undecided whether my worst one was the alternating screams from twins who were only a few months old, right in the row in front of me, or the parents who must have caved in under the stress and started fighting with each other.
My favourite story however, is when I flew business class on a transatlantic flight. I upgraded my seat in an attempt to have a little more space, and some peace and quiet after a busy week. You can imagine my surprise when two young parents with two even younger babies entered the business class cabin and started settling in. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in that cabin who was wondering if there was really no place to hide left. Then, the young father made an surprising comment. “Don’t worry, it’s not what it seems, they are completely used to this.” I was skeptical, but after nine hours I to admit he was right: not a sound. So contrary to popular belief travelling with your kids can be done.
Here are 8 parent-practiced tips to help make traveling with young kids more fun, for everyone:
- Stay calm. New sights and sounds can be overwhelming to a young child, and if the parents are stressed out about the trip (most are), that will transfer onto the kids.
- Pack entertainment. Best bets for entertaining your child include their favorite books, games and toys.
- Plan rest stops. Break up the monotony by taking a break every couple of hours (or more frequently if necessary). Just like adults, kids need to stretch out after sitting down for a while.
- Be flexible. Set realistic expectations and let your child soak up the experience at his or her own pace. You might want to limit your activities in a single day. Otherwise, you could wind up with an over-stimulated toddler.
- Buy some water and bring plenty of snacks. Fruit, granola bars, mini juice cartons and small boxes of cereal make for great, healthy snacks. When travelling internationally, remember to dispose of any perishable items prior to landing.
- Bring a beloved item. A blankie or cuddly toy will help your toddler feel safe and secure. Be sure to have a replacement on hand, too. It will save you some heartache should the original get lost.
- Start and end your day early. Most kids are at their best in the morning, so plan accordingly.
- Stick to your routine. Eating, napping and playing at the same time each day may be all your child needs to feel comfortable in a new environment. The same goes for adults by the way in preventing jet-lag!
Last but not least – don’t forget to take lots of pictures. They’re only young once, so enjoy every moment!
If you have any additional tips, please share in the comments below!