Holidays are occasions to cherish with loved ones and this may mean travelling to reconnect with them. If you have children, travelling with them can seem dreadful especially when you imagine having luggage at hand with screaming children in tow. This article offers you some useful tips to make your travel with kids less stressful.
Be prepared. The best way to put your mind at ease is to be prepared before hand. To begin with, your kids are likely to be extremely excited the day prior to the travel. Try and keep them calm and ensure they follow their routine especially when it comes to feeding and sleeping time to avoid them being too tired and in a crappy mood during the journey. If you are travelling by public means or going by air, ensure you get to the airport or bus terminus early enough on the D-day.
You may consider taking a taxi to the airport or bus stop. Since you need to check-in at the airport security desk, try and ensure you arrive early enough as a last minute rush with a child in your arms is bound to be nerve-racking.
Also ensure you have your bus ticket or airline ticket and passport in your hand luggage or where you can easily access them to avoid any inconveniences.
If you decide to fly with your child, you need to be aware that children up to two years are not required to have their own seat, but it is necessary to inform the airline you are travelling with your child.
Also, only one lap child is allowed per adult and therefore if one adult is traveling with more than one infant under two years of age, you will be required to purchase a seat for each additional infant.
Keep the kids busy during the journey. If you are going on a long-distance journey, you may be torn between what to bring with you and what to leave behind. Bring with you items that will make the trip fun yet busy such as toys, storybooks, colouring books and even crayons.
If you are driving, consider bringing along some baby music with you to play in the car and sing along. Most kids will instantly be captivated by the jolly tunes on a children’s CD and get into a cheerful mood.
If there are other adults travelling with you, try and get them to engage in friendly play with your kids, for instance, Peekaboo would be a good game to engage with the kids and keep them busy laughing.
It is very tempting to try and calm your kids with sweets or sugary things when travelling, but this will only make things harder for you as they are likely to get a sugar rush and become uncontrollable. Instead, give them healthy snacks such as yoghurt or fruit.
It is worth noting that sometimes even when you are doing your best kids can still get into a melt down. However, even though you are pissed off at them or even feeling frustrated try and act calm as kids tend to pick your mood easily.
Constantly check on your kids.
Children tend to get hungry frequently and therefore you must carry with you enough food and snacks for the trip. The last thing you need on top of the long travel is a hungry child crying, and then you feel desperate and inadequate.
While at it, if your child is not yet potty-trained ensure you keep checking their diapers because children can become irritable when they are wet. If driving, try and have stopovers every two hours to ensure your kid does not soil himself.
This is also a good chance to stretch a bit. You may not have this luxury if using public means but even so don’t shy away from requesting the driver to stop over if your kid needs a leak. It will, however, be wise for you not to offer your child liquids during the journey unless necessary.
Try and soothe your kids to sleep as children hardly fall asleep on their own. If you are breastfeeding your child, this or giving them a nursing bottle or a pacifier will eventually put them to sleep.
However, for older children, you may have to read or recite them a story as you cuddle them to put their minds at ease and draw some sleep. This is especially necessary if the journey is long. Hopefully by the time they wake up you will have arrived at your destination.
Happy holidays to you and yours!
Buy a copy of the December issue to read this and many more