This is a guest post from Alexandra Maxwell, who is a dedicated internet blogger that loves to write about family relationships, and lifestyle. Alexandra draws on her own experiences to offer advice to others online.
Travelling long distances with kids: Helpful tips
Most small children benefit from a set of daily routines and patterns that they follow at home. Eating, playing and sleeping all take place in set areas, at relatively the same times every day. Travel of any sort interrupts these patterns, leading to confusion and frustration on the part of the child. Anticipating the specific requirements of small children, such as scheduling the trip to suit their needs, rather than those of the adults and keeping some general tips and bits of advice in mind will help make the entire experience memorable for all the right reasons.
Tips and advice for long distance travel
Careful and thorough planning is the key to any successful long-distance trip and is especially important when traveling with small children. While some issues are unique to different modes of travel, such as airlines security carry-on rules or the locations of roadside rest stops along the route, there are a number of travel tips that are universal.
Schedule transit times so that the trip disrupts the child’s sleep patterns as little as possible. If driving, try to time the trip to coincide with naptimes. For air travel scheduling, look for red-eye flights; they will allow the child to sleep relatively sound through the night. Remember that non-stop, whether on the ground or in the air, is not a good idea. Taking time to stretch the legs mode is important and will release the tension and stress of travel as effectively as possible.
Pack a carry-on or travel activity bag that is full of things to do and see, such as a coloring book and crayons; books, playing cards, a stuffed animal or two and as many favorite toy or toys that may give comfort and entertain. Divide them up and pass them out to the child or children to keep the level of distraction and amusement as steady as possible. If flying, check with airport security to see if the items are permissible or not. Also, bring your own snacks, such as sandwiches, fruit and other types of food, as long as they are purchased after passing through security.
Travel with small children can potentially be very stressful, but it is important to resist the urge to shush them every five minutes. Kids make a noise and kids make messes and kids are, well, kids. Comparing a child to other children or scolding them for not being perfect and silent is not fair. Be tolerant of less-than-perfect behavior, so long as it does not hurt anyone and is not overly disruptive.
Finally, remember that, unfortunately, some people just do not like children. Whether they are encountered in the aisles of a 747 or at a rest stop or roadside diner, even the best-behaved children may be out of favor from the very beginning. Do not allow this to negativity affect the mood of the trip.