Travel with kids can be wonderful, educational, fun, and memorable. It’s not usually easy or relaxing, though. For those of you who have family travel coming up this summer, I have a few short tips for you.
If your young child has touched a plane, train, or long car ride in the last 48 hours, their behavior doesn’t count. Survive these moments, and don’t worry about them. Big travel can bring out the worst in us, and we just have to get through them as peacefully and gracefully as we can.
Are you visiting family members? Staying in their house or in a shared accommodation? If so, carve out “nuclear-family-only time” every day. Go hide in your bedroom if you must, but taking a walk or going to a park can be even better. People who live together are generally used to each other’s rhythms, regulation, habits. Give your kid a daily break (you, too!) from managing other people’s energies. PS. Some kids/parents break this down even further and do one-kid-one-parent reset time. PPS. If you don’t need this tip at all, because your entire extended family is easy and amazing, please just keep that to yourself. ;^)
Kids (and grownups!) need down-time, especially when traveling. The amazing things at your destination won’t be as amazing if your kid gets so worn out that they are fried and tantruming. Pick ONE thing per day, and do it first. If everyone has energy after that, you might be able to do another thing, but then it’s a bonus, which feels much better than a “fail” if it’s expected but doesn’t work out.
Whether your kids are elementary aged or teenagers, giving them some choices about the travel planning is a winning strategy. Teenagers *must* have this, but even younger kids do better when they have a say. It may mean more work for you (coming up with 2 reasonable options instead of 1) but it generally turns out better in the end due to greater cooperation and happiness.
I wish safe, peaceful travels for you, and lots of good memories that make fun stories later. :^)
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I believe family is the foundation of who we are as people and as a culture, and helping improve family lives is my calling and my passion. My top priority is helping you manage behavior more effectively while preserving your parent-child relationship, either with one-on-one coaching or through my online offerings.