Travelling can be hard on the most seasoned travellers, and kids can really be affected by such big change (even if they love travelling!). So what can we do to help them?
1. Remember that it can be a stressful situation for them
Unfamiliar places and strange people can put a lot of stress on kids. You may find that they get more clingy than usual or they seem irritable and ‘cranky’. Children put trust in their parents that where they are and who they are with is a safe environment and it may take them a little while to adjust to this. Give them the space and time they need and be forgiving with them.
2. Keep to their routine while still being flexible
Children thrive on the predictability of routine. Try to keep their sleep times and mealtimes as consistent as possible. This doesn’t mean that you have to be confined to your room at those times, have them sleep in their pram or in the car and they can certainly eat on the go if you have meals prepared and carry them with you. But do be mindful that they can get overstimulated and this may result in the need to take it a little easier for a day or two while they rest. Plan your agenda accordingly.
3. Eliminate the Unexpected
Explain everything that is going to happen to your children before it happens. Tell them if you are going on a plane and what to expect. Who is going to be there and what activities they should expect to happen. Also tell them what you expect of them too. If they need to sleep on the flight, tell them that this is what they need to do. This will prepare them for what needs to happen.
4. Take Care of Yourself
Your children will pick up on your stress which can then make them just as stressed, so make sure you are looking after yourself as well as everyone else. Ensure you are getting adequate sleep and eating well. Don’t plan too many activities each day and make sure you are keeping well hydrated. The healthier and happier you are, the more your children will be too.
5. Encourage a Travel Diary
Have your kids write (or draw) about their experiences. Encourage them to put pen to paper about their feelings as offloading emotions and fears can be quite freeing. It will also have them look at the things they are enjoying about their experience as well as those they aren’t and can help them to focus on doing more of the things they enjoy. Not only will this help them to express their emotions but it will also be great for learning and education too.
6. Find Comfort With The Familiar
Ultimately travelling light is the way to go, especially if you are on the move fairly often. However, kids do find comfort with the familiar, so let them bring along one or two things that make them feel safe and secure. Let them bring a favourite toy or book, load up your device with their favourite music or just do some activities with them that bring about the familiarity of home. One of our favourite things to do with our 2 year old is to sing some songs together before bed. This requires nothing more than our fabulous singing voices and is a routine we can keep wherever we are in the world.
7. Get them Exercising
Get active with your kids. Get outside and play and get them running around. Not only does this burn off a little energy but it also causes endorphins to be released that aid in combating any negative feelings. There are many activities to do when you are travelling that will help to get the adrenaline going and have you feeling full of energy. And it is good for all of you too.
8. Have Them Meet New People
Meeting people and making new friends is a sure way to starve the travel blues. Some of the best friendships can be made while travelling and having a pen pal (old school term I know) can create a long lasting friendship to stand the test of time. Not only that, meeting new people will help to develop your kids social skills as well as let them experience and learn about a new culture in the best way possible.
So be forgiving with your kids and give them time to express their feelings (positive or negative) while providing them with some stability and familiarity during your travels.
It will make travelling far less daunting for them and a whole lot more fun for the entire family. If you can do this there will be no stopping your family getting out and experiencing our big, wide, fabulous world.
SHARE your best travelling tips with us in the comments below.
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