Keep Kids Engaged
Whether your family is piling up in the car or RV, or taking a flight to your dream destination, be sure to plan for long travel days. Packing ample amounts of snacks, liquids, and activities is imperative to your children remaining engaged and not screaming down the aisles! This behaviour can (unfortunately) affect other patrons and their vacation experience.
As a mom of a very rambunctious 3-year-old, I can confidently say that sometimes snacks and activities aren’t going to cut it! During those dreaded moments, try to remain calm and talk to your child about how their behaviour is impacting those around them. Often times, misbehaviour can be a call for attention. Try joining in an activity with your child to help diffuse a situation. Examples include having a snack together, having them join you in discussing an itinerary, or playing a quick game of eye-spy together.
In an attempt to keep travel lines moving smoothly, I always recommend ensuring carry-ons are equipped with TSA-approved contents and that travel documents are organized before you leave for the airport. Further, take the time to weigh your checked luggage. Travel stores often sell portable luggage scales; this can be a big help especially if you tend to over-pack. By weighing your checked items beforehand you can avoid the task of re-shuffling personal items between suitcases at the baggage drop desk!
As parents, it can be difficult to get through security checkpoints with children, bags, bottles, strollers, etc. Try to organize (and control) what you can beforehand, since there will be a lot of “unknown” moments that will likely test your time management – and probably your patience, too!
As a teacher, I always recommend families spend time learning about their destination beforehand as a way to prepare – and get excited! Depending on the age of your child, you could have them research specific topics about your destination such as popular attractions, culture, food, etc. Culture is always an important part of pre-trip planning. For example, certain countries have clothing guidelines or expectations depending on their traditions. It’s important to be aware of these prior to arriving in order to avoid offending those native to the country. This is also a great learning experience for your child as they become exposed to different values and beliefs. Being part of the planning process is also a great way to introduce your child to skills such as time management and budgeting.
Practice Appropriate Behaviour
It’s easy to discuss what is and isn’t “good” behaviour. I recommend taking it one step further and role-playing with your child. Come up with possible situations such as feeling frustrated on an airplane, or getting excited about something in a museum, and practice what the best response would be. This can be a fun activity especially if you put a twist to the game and also act out what would not be a good response. This way they can better identify inappropriate behaviour, too.
It’s easy to want to document every moment of your trip, but make sure that doesn’t leave you spending majority of your time behind your camera. Especially at popular attractions, you will always see more people behind large camera’s than actually standing and savouring the moment. Try to balance documenting your time at attractions with being present. You, and everyone around you, will enjoy the less rushed version of your trip.