Vacations and travel can happen any time of year, but the winter months are often when those of us in Rhode Island say au revoir to our local environs and travel to somewhere warm (or maybe somewhere cold for those of you who like the killer skiing that we don't have here!) .
If you have kids, perhaps you're taking a trip during the upcoming February vacation. Traveling by yourself or with a friend or spouse is one thing, but when you have kids, adding them into the traveling mix makes each trip a whole new adventure. It is most definitely an amazing adventure, especially when you can experience a new (or even a well-visited) destination through your child's eyes. So how can you make traveling with your kids as smooth as possible? Whether it's your first time traveling with them, or you're a veteran, I've got some real advice from real moms who have been there. Read on to see what these moms have to say!
Have distractions and snacks ready.
In the airport and your next flight isn't for two and a half hours? No worries, whip out that coloring book and create some art. Or have the latest ipad kids' game at the ready to take the edge off. Road tripping and the next rest stop is in 973 miles (or you don't want to pay $99 for roadside convenience food?) No worries, mama. You're prepared with some snacks to keep your littles (and probably you) satisfied for the moment.
Be prepared for Murphy's law.
Kids have schedules and routines. Many, if not most, thrive on it. If your child does well with routines, it makes sense to try to stick to that routine as much as possible during a vacation. And if your child is an adventurer and wants to change things up during vacation, there is no harm in that either, within reason. But the bottom line from moms in the know is this: no matter how much of a routine you're used to, no matter how well you plan...be prepared for the worst case scenario. Whether it's a sick kid, a missed flight, bad weather, a hotel room infested with critters, or your child's hair attached to the rental car's ceiling with gum (don't even think this hasn't happened), be prepared. It can happen. It will happen. You might not like it, but if you roll with it, or at least pretend to, it will work out. I promise.
In the day to day, there are things we expect our kids to do without asking, and that they do without any reward. That's life! With travel, though, sometimes routines change. That can make even the most even-keeled child anxious or off-balance. Having little rewards for behaving well, or even as an acknowledgement of "you've been in that seat for hours and haven't complained!" can be a lifesaver for both parents and kids. My mom used to reward us with Tic Tacs on long road trips. That may sound nuts but we looked forward to our Tic Tacs! Whether it's a book, some extra kind words, an ice cream, or something else, rewarding your child for handling a change in their routine is another way that you can make your trip go more smoothly.
Do you have any other trips for traveling parents? Leave them in the comments!