Summer is the season of vacations. Here are some tips for more enjoyable travelling with kids…..
BIRTH TO TWO
Infants and toddlers can be good traveling companions because, for the most part, they’re content as long as they’re with you. But traveling with a child who is under two requires plenty of advance planning. Don’t assume that there will be a car seat, portable crib, stroller, or high chair at your destination. Separation anxiety is also common at various points during this stage in a toddler’s development, so it’s best not to plan the kind of vacation during which you will have to leave the child with sitters.
Keep your toddler on his regular schedule.
Let him have his afternoon nap, his 5 p.m. dinner, and so on. The less disrupted he is, the happier everyone will be.
Try to plan major activities for the morning.
That way you’ll be back to the hotel or cabin in time for lunch and a nap. But if you can’t manage (or don’t want) to interrupt your fun, a nap in the stroller is better than no nap at all.
Have your infant’s or toddler’s ears checked before you depart.
This is very important if you’ll be flying, because a baby with an ear infection might be uncomfortable during takeoff and landing.
THREE AND FOUR
As your child approaches age three, her personality blossoms and her language skills take a huge leap. She also loves to do what Mommy and Daddy are doing. Still, she may become clingy when faced with new places and people, and she’ll likely react to new foods by firmly shutting her lips. Nor will she last long in museums, particularly the look-but-don’t-touch variety.
Keep your child informed beforehand about the vacation plans.
Then, when you leave, make sure she understands where she’s going. A preschool child who’s told only that she’s going on an airplane may mistakenly believe her destination is somewhere in the sky. If you can find a picture book that describes your vacation spot, read and discuss it with your child.
Help your kids get settled as soon as you arrive.
Children of this age thrive on a sense of order. “Let them know immediately where their new play area will be, where they’ll sleep, and where you’re putting their washcloth and toothbrush. So bring along some toys and trinkets from home.
Don’t plan day trips far from your hotel.
That way you can easily “go home” whenever your child gets tired. Beach resorts and cruise ships have the advantage of offering a lot of activity in a contained area, with the room never too far away. (Ask your travel agent about cruise lines and resorts that cater to small children.) And a short car trip to visit relatives or a nearby tourist attraction is appropriate for kids this age.
Whatever destination you choose, try to stick to your regular eating and sleeping routines. Vacation isn’t the time for a three-year-old to give up his nap, Dr. Medway adds.
FIVE AND SIX
As children get closer to age five, they become more curious about and appreciative of the outside world. They’ll probably play with other children in the hotel swimming pool, and they may even try new foods. They’ll also enjoy the kinds of children’s activities offered at family resorts, such as arts and crafts or nature hikes.
Here are some suggestions that work with somewhat older kids:
Take your child to places that will spark his imagination.
Your five- or six-year-old is increasingly interested in fantasy play. She suggests a visit to an air-and-space museum (where your child can pretend to be an astronaut), a ride on a steam train (on which he can play engineer), or a trip to a ranch (where he might fantasize he’s a cowboy).
Listen to your child’s fears and try to reassure her.
Kids this age may verbalize travel anxieties, such as a fear of airplane crashes.
Help your child get plenty of rest.
Children typically need more, not less, sleep on a vacation. Five- and six-year-olds, however, will probably refuse to stop whatever they’re doing and take a nap, observes Dorothy Jordon, the founder of Travel With Your Children, a family-travel resource center. If your plans include lots of walking, Jordon recommends taking along a stroller for any child under age eight, so they can get all the on-the-go rest they need.
Kids being what they are, even the most carefully thought-out vacations sometimes do not happen the way you planned. So it’s important to have realistic expectations and to remain as flexible as possible.
HAPPY TRAVELS !