Published on Saturday, 24 November 2012 17:52
Written by Moms In Heels
I wrote this today as a guest blog for Grow Smart Toys. You can see their blog here: http://www.growsmarttoys.com/blog/ Enjoy! - Lisa
A lot of people are traveling during the holiday season, going to visit families in another town, state, or even country. Parents can often dread the traveling part if they have young children but we wanted to give you some tips and advice to make traveling more fun and easy!
It’s so much fun as a child when you have something to look forward to. You can create anticipation for the family trip by starting a countdown calendar with a photo or illustration of the destination. Let kids pack help you pack their bags, maybe ask them what outfit they want to wear on trip or let them pick out what pajamas to take. It’s also fun let them pick a special toy to hide away in their suitcase for “safe keeping”.
Show them on a map where you are going so they can feel like they understand right where Grandma or Grandpa lives. Encourage them to help research family-friendly activities and ask them to pick one thing they would really like to do while you’re there.
Keep in mind that the more they are involved the deeper the memory it creates for them. Think back to some of your own memories from family vacations and what you did and didn’t like about it. The parts you liked were most likely the things you got to participate in and be a part of.
Don’t think of airplane or car time as wish-you-were-in-solitary-confinement time; think of it as precious bonding hours. Remember that your family’s trip begins as soon as you close your front door. Maintain a good sense of humor while traveling to give your children, and always remember that problems do arise and accidents do happen. Sometimes it can be difficult to just let things unfold naturally, but you have to be able to just“go with the flow” when unforeseen obstacles arise during vacation. No child is perfect, and make sure you’re extra patient with them since they are also unfamiliar with traveling and their new surroundings.
FOR THE TRIP:
Make sure to bring some things along for the car or plane ride.New books and a new toy are great things to have on hand. Don’t let your child know you have them and make sure not to bring them out too early. By bringing something that they have never seen before it will hold their attention far more than something that has been played with dozens of times already. Again, the key to this is to not bring them out to soon. Wait until the meltdown begins and then bring out the big guns. If you bring out the secret weapon too soon, then you have no recourse.
Besides the new books or toys, you can also use the technology made available to you. Even if you don’t usually let your child watch TV, knowing that they are being allowed to use something that is ordinarily off limits is one of the biggest draws for them. Little screens in the back of headrests of chairs are a godsend for those traveling with small children, especially if one is napping and you need the older one to keep quiet for a little while.
You also can’t travel without snacks! Snack cups are an easy way to keep snacks from spilling everywhere and also to keep the kids happy. You should take items that are not messy, that do not need any refrigeration and can be easy handed to them.
No matter how you do it, remember that traveling should be fun! There are so many ways for kids to learn along the way and there is no greater learning experience than seeing new things first hand. On a trip, children see all kinds of new things they don’t know about and new cultures, foods, and scenery. Explain things to them and take the time to help them learn about what they’re seeing, doing, and tasting.
Here are some awesome travel games for your children to play and learn with for your next trip!
Melissa & Doug Hangman Travel Game – Great for travel, with no loose pieces.
Melissa & Doug License Plate Game- Learn the name and location of all fifty states, identify states by their license plate design. No loose pieces to leave a trail!
Travel Doodle & Do- A passport for going to fun places on vacation! This spiral bound coloring & ARTivity book comes with a sturdy handle and heavy back cover that are ideal for coloring on the go.
Zingo To Go- Great for travel. 9 traffic light game boards. No loose pieces. Learning skills: Reading and spelling, memorization and matching skills
Car/Plane Valet Tote- the perfect way to take along art activities in the car. It is a fold out desk that attaches the headrest of the seat in front.