Travelling with kids...

Xero

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If you want to take that vacation or visit those distant family members, and you would like to bring the kids, there are ways to make things easier on yourself. Unfortunately it can be difficult to keep kids sitting down and behaving comfortably for long periods of time in order to get to our destinations safely. Many parents dread any sorts of long trips when it comes to their kids. We know there may be whining, crying, and irritation. Possibly bad behavior due to the frustration of having to hold still for so long. We have all heard the famous "are we there yet" and "I want to get out of the car" quotes. Thankfully, if you put some time and effort into it, you can make a long trip with kids a little better.

For infants, if you are flying then you should be sure to have bottles (or breasts) and pacifiers ready so that they have something to suck on to relieve the pressure in their ears. Make sure you bring a blanket, as it can get a little chilly on planes. Don't forget to pack extra diapers, wipes, and clothes in your carry on bag. Diaper explosions are most likely to happen in the most inconvenient places!! It will also help if you bring along a few favorite toys to keep their attention. Thankfully babies are usually happy just being held. I know my oldest was great on planes, and the only problem I had with him was the ear aches from the pressure afterwards. If you are in the car with a baby, same rules apply with the favorite toys and the changes of clothes and whatnot. Play some upbeat music in the car to keep a good mood and distract the baby. Be prepared to make several stops to get some air. If you think you can, maybe even try to make the trip at night so that the little one will sleep through the whole thing.



For toddlers and preschoolers, be prepared to do a lot of talking and playing on a plane or in a car. Answer questions, and talk about how cars and planes work. Point out the scenery outside and strike up a conversation about it. Bring along favorite toys or even new toys to keep their attention. Play little games or sing songs. Just keep switching activities in order to keep them from getting bored and irritated. Last time we took my oldest on a car trip at I think two or three years old, I drew a car track inside of the top of a shoe box (it has rims so that cars wont fall out of it) and he got a huge kick out of it. I also bought a bunch of new interesting things and put them in a box special for the trip. Random things like stickers, a new pack of cars, silly bands, crayons and paper, things like that. Even still, be prepared to stop when you can to stretch little legs!

For older kids and teenagers, thankfully they are a little easier. Keep telling them how much time is left, or how many miles are left, or even where you are and where you still need to go. I liked hearing all of that information when I used to go on trips as a kid. I liked feeling informed about our progress, and it made the trip seem a little less endless. Sing songs, play I spy and letter games, and prepare a bunch of their favorite music on the iPod to play while you are in the car. Have them bring headphones and books. If you can splurge on a portable DVD player, that would be great.

Most importantly, stay calm and try to enjoy the time together. If you get really frustrated, find a place to stop so you can get some fresh air and a cold beverage or what have you. Try not to be in a hurry, because that will make things a lot harder. Make it a fun bonding experience for all of you. The best part of all will be when everyone arrives happily at their destination!
 
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Lucia

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Love the tips and strategies listed when travelling with kids. I would like to share some helpful advice on how to prepare for a stress free road trip with younger children.

Enjoy!
Lucia
disciplineandchildren.com
 
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stjohnjulie

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Great tips Xero! Since our travel usually involves a plane... I have one to add. I pick up a package of the squishy ear plugs at the store before I fly. I make sure I have at least half a dozen sets. That way, if my little ones are making a bunch of noise, I can offer the ear plugs to the people around me. I've only had to pull them out once (thank goodness!) and most people are so happy that you are thoughtful enough to think ahead that they offer to help out in any way they can.

My oldest has been on so many flights that I can't even count them. He is a great traveler and usually just konks out right away.

Bringing a sippy cup, bottle, or breast (hard to forget those!) is great for take off and landings because the little ones don't know how to relieve the pressure in their ears like grown ups. Swallowing usually takes care of it.

Oh! And I also found it's good to have a spare set of clothes for me as well. Diaper blow outs don't just 'happen' to the babies, they tend to share their blow outs with whom ever is holding them!!
 

IADad

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stjohnjulie said:
Bringing a sippy cup, bottle, or breast (hard to forget those!)
I wouldn't be surprised if TSA would figure out a way to confiscate them...and does this have to be an infant only suggestion? Just asking.
 

Xero

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Julie - That is sooo funny about the ear plugs! What a good idea. I know there were a couple of times I took a flight with ODS and he was disruptive. A couple times as a baby he would cry and I felt like I was irritating people around me. Oh well. He never carried on long, and it didn't happen much. You're right too, that it is a good idea to bring yourself an extra change of clothes! Even without your kids, you never know what will happen.

And yeah, it is pretty hard to forget the boobies! lol :D

IADad - I wouldn't put it past them! lol
 

stjohnjulie

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So far, I haven't had TSA try to take my boobies! BUT, I have found that when you travel with an infant in a carseat, and a Rasta Man with dreads down to his butt, that they take the extra time to wave that little cotton wand around the car seat and baby and throw it into the machine that detects trace elements of prohibited items. I am pretty sure they are not looking for explosives :D No worries, the baby is not a drug mule!
 

Xero

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Julie - Wow!! Kind of funny, but isn't that somewhat descriminative??? I would be a little mad I think haha...

alter ego - Holy moly! That should be fun! :) Hey did you just find out you're pregnant? I didn't know you were expecting.
 
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NurseMama

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We always pack a bag of special toys and treats that are only for travel. And I usually throw in a new little something to whip out as a bribe, oops, I mean distraction, in case of crisis meltdown.
 

Xero

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I can't agree more NurseMama! :) We have "the box". As soon as ODS starts to get cranky, I get out the box and there should be something in it to distract him.
 

singledad

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I've heard that you get special earplugs for use on planes that actually keeps the ears from blocking up and causing discomfort. I've never seen it, but a colleague of my swears by it, so its probably worth investigating...
 

superman

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stjohnjulie said:
Great tips Xero! Since our travel usually involves a plane... I have one to add. I pick up a package of the squishy ear plugs at the store before I fly. I make sure I have at least half a dozen sets. That way, if my little ones are making a bunch of noise, I can offer the ear plugs to the people around me. I've only had to pull them out once (thank goodness!) and most people are so happy that you are thoughtful enough to think ahead that they offer to help out in any way they can.
Good one Julie, that will come in handy.
 

stjohnjulie

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Xero, discriminatory, yes, but such is life married to a Rasta Mon! Authorities look at him a little more harshly than others, but almost everyone else looks at him with a little bit of awe. Especially kids, they love the dreads!
 

Xero

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singledad - I hadn't heard of those! I will need to look them up. I wonder if they make them for kids/babies (if they would even keep them in that is).

Julie - Well that's silly! But I guess I get it. :)
 

singledad

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Xero said:
singledad - I hadn't heard of those! I will need to look them up. I wonder if they make them for kids/babies (if they would even keep them in that is).

Julie - Well that's silly! But I guess I get it. :)
Well, yes, she was telling me that she got them for her three-year old daughter recently, and it worked like a charm. I'm not at the office this week, but I'll ask her on Monday what they're called, and update you guys :)
 

Andrea Brown

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Thank you for the great ideas! I will have to share some of the earplug idea on my blog, if you don't mind! It's the first time I have heard that suggestion. Excellent!