Family trips are always busy times, and even more so when traveling with young children. Preschoolers generally love to explore and venture into new areas. They are old enough to manage many things on their own, and often times demand they “do it myself”. Yet, they are still young enough to need help in many areas, whether they want the help or not, so keeping them occupied on a trip can be a challenge.
Here are some ideas of things to try or keep in mind when traveling with preschoolers to keep both them and you happy.
Create a travel bag with special activities that include some special “new” activities your child doesn’t regularly play. The excitement of something new will keep them busy for a while. Don’t necessarily hand your child the travel bag to dig through themselves. Instead, offer them an item or to to look through so you can stretch out the presentation of all the new items.
Plan for extra breaks during your travel time. Allow your child the opportunity to get up and stretch, explore their surroundings and maybe even run off some of that extra energy. Sometimes it may seem easier to keep them seated for as long as possible because settling down is a challenge in itself. However, considering encouraging them to explore and see the new things around them, that’s what traveling is all about! Even on a road trip, allow for extra time at pit stops to run for a few minutes or explore the scenery.
Bring your own snacks. Always bring snacks you know your preschooler likes. Also include some special treats that aren’t necessarily common place at home. You never know when a little comfort food will help and occupy a restless kiddo.
This is a trip, and trips are special events, treat the occasion as such. If you are excited and having fun, your child will follow your lead. If you are stressed or anxious, your child will potentially find every button you have – pushing just to see the reaction. Just remember to stay positive and the mood will work with you.
And the most important, a good portion of the people around you on a plane or other main travel spots, had or do have kids themselves. If your child is tired or overly excited and acting a bit more moody than you’d like, don’t let your emotions get in the way. Becoming frustrated, irritated or grumpy about your child’s behavior doesn’t help in these away from home situations. No need to be embarrassed nor worried if you are bothering others with the kid craziness that often happens with young kids dealing with long travel days. It’s your family.. just have fun and remember to breathe.
More thoughts about traveling with preschoolers can be found at Homeschool Creations’ Preschool Corner