Travelling with Children
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Family vacations are where memories are made for a lifetime. In a fast paced environment where we are consumed by technology, families need a chance to reconnect. Traveling with children of any age can add a different dynamic to a vacation but traveling with young children can be stressful to plan and execute.
Being prepared is important. Begin a list of things to bring several weeks in advance of your trip and add to it as things pop in your head. Ask friends and family with children of similar ages what was successful for them when they have traveled in the past. Prepare your child by telling them what to expect. Showing them videos and reading books in advance can be helpful. No matter what your means of travel is leave yourself extra time for distractions such as unexpected bathroom breaks, requiring a break to let out some energy, or letting a child walk at their own pace. You will be able to keep your cool if you allow time for your child to take their time.
Young children thrive on routines and predictability as it allows them control over parts of their life. They will need time to adapt during the first few days of your vacation that may be very busy and hectic. They may experience lack of sleep or a change in their appetite which may result in undesirable behavior until they are able to adjust.
Doing a little research and factoring in your child’s needs into your travel plans, will result in a fabulous family vacation that will be remembered for years to come. Be flexible with your plans and take it day by day as tired children might enjoy playing on the beach versus the day trip to the theme park or zoo that you had originally planned.
MSU Extension Educator
Children & Youth Institute