Traveling With Children
Mention traveling with children to just about any parent and you will get looks of exhaustion, disbelief, and memories of horrible traveling experiences. Traveling with children is not for the faint of heart, but steps can be taken to be sure that the whole family has an easier time traveling. Not only can you travel with your children without any major incidents, you can have fun. When your children have positive traveling experiences they’ll be more willing to cooperate throughout childhood, which will make traveling as a family an ideal option, not the only option.
Traveling with infants
Many people believe that traveling with infants is more difficult than anything else, and that is true on one hand, but on the other, it’s not at all true. Infants are difficult to travel with because they are not capable of doing anything for themselves, so your hands will be full while maneuvering in airports, security, and in the aircraft itself with the baby, a car seat, and the baby bag. But, the great thing about most infants is that they are happy as long as some basic needs are met. Of course, this doesn’t mean that traveling with an infant is simple; it just means that as long as you are prepared to meet the needs of you infant, it can be more than bearable.
The age of your infant will determine what you will need to bring with you but the basics are baby food or formula, diapers, wipes, any medications such as diaper rash cream, gas medicine, lotions, or medication for nausea that will be needed during your travel. Think about bringing a variety of food or snacks if your child is able to eat more than formula or breast milk. You should also consider bringing two to four changes of clothes even if you don’t anticipate needing a change of clothes. The last thing your infant will want is to sit in an airplane or airport with wet clothes. Also, be sure to bring a blanket to cover your child just incase an airport or aircraft is a bit chilly. Keeping your infant comfortable will likely keep you comfortable; making your traveling experience easier than you might have imagined it to be.
When packing for your travels, remember to stick in a shot record or copy of a birth certificate as proof of identity for your infant. Some airlines and security checkpoints won’t ask for this information for your child, while others will. You’ll want to be over prepared, as that always works out more effectively than hoping for the best. The last thing you want when traveling with your infant is to be stuck in some airport somewhere that won’t allow you to travel until you can prove the age of your child! Other than that, pack some patience and don’t worry too much about what the people around you are thinking. Your infant may cry or fuss a bit, but just concentrate on meeting the needs of your child and you are likely to have a comfortable traveling experience.
Traveling with older children
The great thing about traveling with children even as young as two is that you can begin to talk to them about what to expect in the hours and days leading up to the event. When children know what to expect, they usually tolerate things much better. Explain what you’ll do at the airport, and then what you’ll do in the aircraft. While your child might not understand your travel plans in terms of hours, you can explain that they’ll need to be patient and use their manners because it’s the right thing to do, but also because there will be other people around your family that is traveling. You’ll be able to decide how much information your child needs or wants about your traveling and how to discuss it with them, but it’s always a good idea to prepare them as much as possible. Traveling is stressful and exhausting for everyone, so be considerate and allow your child to prepare mentally.
You’ll want to pack snacks, medications, activities, and a change of clothes for your child. These items will make traveling with children much easier because they will have everything they might need or want, and when traveling gets boring you’ll have things to do that will distract them. Avoid giving snacks and activities all at once, try to spread out the things you have packed and avoid using them until you’ll need them. Think about buying books that you can read, perhaps about airplanes or traveling to help your child relate to the traveling experience more.
Games such as tic-tac-toe can be a simple way to make the time go by more quickly, but it doesn’t require much. So, don’t be afraid to get on your child’s level and help their traveling experience be as positive as possible. While you may want to sleep, read your novel, or just relax while traveling, really try to entertain your child because if they’re happy you’ll be happy.
Make sure that when you go to the airport you have shot records or a birth certificate for your child. While your child may not have identification, you’ll likely need some sort of ID for them to get their boarding pass and get through security. You’ll want to explain security measures to your child before you get to the airport to avoid a meltdown as they walk through the metal detector by themselves. The security process can be quite intimidating for a child, so be as understanding as you can, but keep the tone upbeat to get your travels off to the best start possible.
Traveling with your children doesn’t have to be a nightmare; in fact you can both enjoy it very much. The key to comfortable traveling with your children is to prepare them as much as possible, and to have as many tricks up your sleeve to keep them busy. Most kids are content as long as their basic needs are met, so think about your child and what they expect on a day-to-day basis, and pack accordingly. No one will ever say traveling with children is easy, but it doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience, either.
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