Traveling with children can certainly be a challenge. It is a tough balance that we often struggle with. We want to give our children new experiences and adventures. But we know that in order to do that, it will necessitate some travel time and getting out of ALL of our comfort zones.
Some kids are great travelers and others, not so much. I remember that my parents used to take my brother and I on skiing trips to Colorado every Holiday season. This was in the early eighties. They had a Chevy Citation hatchback. They would just put the back seats down and put some carpet in the back and let my brother and I roll around back there the whole 14-hour car ride. Who needs car seats or even seat belts?
Obviously, nowadays, we need to keep our little one’s strapped in and safe for the duration of the trip and some children don’t take to well to sitting still for hours at a time.
It is not only the actually traveling that can be challenging. When we get to our destination we are often completely off schedule. A lot of times we are in different time zones. There is different food available for our VERY picky son. Everything is new and different and this doesn’t always make for smooth sailing.
Over the past 6 years of parenting, we have learned a few tricks to make things a little smoother. We have lots of games in the car that we can play like, “I spy I spy”. We sing songs. We have coloring books. In the age of portable electronic devices, there are a ton of apps out there to keep your child engaged and entertained.
Once we get to our destination, we try to be as prepared as possible. For our picky eater, we always have something on hand that we know he will eat and will give him some sustainable energy. In our case, it is a granola bar or an apple. This is NOT the time to draw a line in the sand and tell him he needs to eat every bite of the new dish that is in front of him at the restaurant. Trust me, I know from experience, this is a battle not worth fighting at that time. Wait until you have home field advantage.
I have also found a great guide created by Scholastic and Disney that will get you all geared up and in the right frame of mind for traveling during the upcoming spring break season. Please check out this Ultimate Preschool Travel Guide at our Smart Family Travel.
This page is full of great articles to give you tips and insights to make traveling and vacation a little less stressful for everyone involved.
My favorite article is called “Traveling with Preschoolers Made Easy” by Judy Koutsky. In the article she gives some great ideas that I found very helpful. One that made a lot of sense is to eat several small meals while on the road. Instead of 3 large meals, you can break it up into smaller ones that help prevent your child from crashing and to also break up the monotony of the trip a little bit.
She also suggests bringing some of the comforts from home for your child like his favorite stuffed animal or blanket. This makes sense but she also suggests putting some new items in his bag as well as a surprise.
There are many other great tips in the article and in all of the articles on the page. She tells parents to loosen up a little bit on the sleeping schedule. Don’t worry about timing naps and bedtime as much as you would at home. Concentrate on having fun and let your child catch some sleep in the stroller or shuttle back to the hotel.
I am also excited to point you toward their Tiny Travelers Sweepstakes. Disney is giving you the opportunity to win a 4-day, 5-night trip to Disney World for 4. To enter the contest, go to this link: http://www.scholastic.com/tinytravelers/
The first 2500 entries get a free Scholastic book!
I wish all of you out there safe and happy travels to wherever you may be headed. But if you happen to still be driving a Chevy Citation from the early 80’s, please use a carseat!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Disney. The opinions and text are all mine.