It’s that time of year again—the holidays! Although the holidays are meant to be a fun time where a sense of giving runs rampant, it can also be a very stressful time for many people; especially those who will be traveling with kids to go see family or other loved ones. Depending on the age of your child or children, that amount of stress can vary, so we’re going to break down several travel tips for kids of all ages! Keep reading below for our tips!
· Babies and Toddlers: Babies and toddlers are one of the easier ages to travel with, simply because they’re so portable! Yeah, they seem like they require a lot of stuff, but after addressing a few basic needs, they’re usually pretty easy to keep happy when traveling. As long as you have a safe car seat, your child’s favorite blankie, a few favorite toys, extra diapers and wipes, breastmilk or formula if they’re still too young for solid foods, and a few toddler-safe snacks for your toddler, their basic needs will be met.
· Pre-schoolers and Grade-School-Aged Children: Pre-schoolers and other grade-school-aged kids may be potty trained and able to eat snacks in the car without any help from you, but they get bored pretty easily. To avoid the dreadful “Are we there yet?” commentary, be sure to have some ways to keep them entertained, especially if the trip you’re taking is a longer one. Some kids are happy with a tablet they can play games or watch something on, others may like portable board games they can play with their siblings and others might enjoy a book to read. Tailor your child’s entertainment and give them options with their own unique preferences in mind, and it can make road trips a little easier on all of you.
· Teens. Teens can and do get bored on road trips, but often because their development is closer to an adult, they can usually figure out for themselves what will keep them entertained on a long car ride and problem-solve it themselves. Better yet, if they’re old enough to drive (and licensed!) and you feel safe enough to relinquish the wheel to them while you get some sleep on a long trip, let them drive and help you out. Teens can also help keep siblings entertained as well if needed.
General Travel Safety Tips:
· Nearly every parent knows this, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. When traveling with children, expect delays. Whether it’s a toddler having a meltdown over dropping a piece of cheese on the floor, a baby needing a diaper change, or a hungry and cranky school-aged kid, ALWAYS leave a little extra time to account for delays. They are inevitable and if you leave a little extra time for these delays, it can help make your trip a bit easier.
· Ensure all seatbelts, car seats, and airbags are in proper working order before embarking on a road trip. This extends to ensuring that general car maintenance such as oil changes, good tires, etc. are also up-to-date and safe for driving.
· Pack extra clothes, diapers, wipes, and snacks. It’s better to have overpacked and to have too many things on hand than it is to not have enough when you need it.
· Click it or Ticket. Always wear your seatbelt and make sure your children do too. More fatalities in car accidents are due to not being buckled up more than any other reason.
· Watch your speed and stay focused on driving. Don’t speed, don’t text and drive, and be vigilant while driving to help prevent any accidents before they even have the chance to occur.
· Take frequent breaks from driving, especially if you begin to feel tired or uncomfortable. We know that sometimes you just want to get to your destination and then rest. But if you begin to feel fatigued or uncomfortable sitting for long periods of time, pull over at a rest stop, stretch your legs, grab a drink and a snack, and take a few minutes to check on your kids and take a break.