We all know that going on holidays with children can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a lot of work. It may be rather overwhelming when you consider the packing lists, unpredictable schedules and children who are out of their routine.
Whether you’re travelling by car or plane, it presents some unique obstacles. The best thing you can do, according to Brett and Kate Ryan of Focus on the Family, is plan ahead. Taking frequent breaks and ensuring that the kids are fed and entertained may be really beneficial.
“Encourage them not to always go straight to technology,” says Brett. “It can be a treat, but don’t let your children assume it’s their right because you’re travelling. Have a book, some activities or a podcast to listen to. And always have extra snacks.”
If you’re on a plane, Kate advises taking the kids for walks up and down the aisles. “They need to exercise just like we do,” she says, “You just have to acknowledge that that is part of travelling with children. It’s really difficult, especially when you’re on a long-haul flight, because you’re exhausted too.”
Everyone responds differently to flying, so you must be prepared for it. However, there are a few simple things you can do to make the travel more enjoyable for everyone. One thing is to make sure your carry-on baggage is close by.
“You can also purchase things like blow-up ottomans,” says Kate, “that are the same height as the seat on the plane. You can have your child lying down across the seat and across the ottoman. Sometimes you have to go searching for these things, but they really do help with travel.”
Brett says that we also need to be prepared for kids to get frustrated and annoyed. They’re going to feel cramped, and the nature of travelling will probably lead to a tantrum or two. If we decide to take the kids on a holiday, we have to be willing to give them lots of grace.
“We had a friend that went overseas with their twin boys,” Brett explains. “They handed out little pieces of paper to all the people surrounding them, saying the babies tended to be a little bit loud and to please show them some forgiveness.”
Brett says they also gave out earplugs. They were proactive, and actually asked their fellow passengers to show them a bit of grace, because it was tough for all of them. It also helped to diffuse any potential conflict that might arise.
Brett and Kate both say that taking the pressure off yourself and having realistic expectations will help you make the most of your time away. “You want the focus to be on making some great memories together.”