6 Ways to Travel With Kids and Not Lose Your Mind
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This past summer I took my three boys from our home in Tennessee to my parent’s house in Southern California. We spent three weeks with them, making memories and enjoying family. I was so glad that I decided to take the trip even though the idea of flying alone with my three boys made me nervous.
I have done it several times before, but they were a lot younger. This time the flight would be four hours and then an hour drive to and from the airport. When I got home, I thought back to that trip as well as other trips I had taken with them and figured out how I got through the travels without losing my mind.
1. Make sure to organize and prepare
The number one thing I do when I travel with my kids is to get organized before we leave. This trip, each child had their own backpack with anything they would want to play with on the plane, an extra change of clothes, snacks, and an empty water bottle. Doing this freed up space in my own bag and made them responsible for some of their things.
I also make plans for the trip. How long will we be traveling? What will they need? What about food? Snacks are a big deal. When you have snacks, you have something to give your child when you need them to think about something else besides being in the car or plane.
2. Traveling will not be as difficult as you think
I always get so nervous and anxious about traveling with my kids, but in the end, the trip is usually never as bad as I expected it would be. Sure, we might run into issues and frustrations but overall, we get to where we need to go and do so all in one piece.
I try to remind myself of this before we leave for our trip. I think about the good times we have had in the past and all the fun memories we will make while we are on our travels. That helps my mood and keeps my anxiety low.
3. Let people help you
When I flew over to Germany to join my husband, I had my 18-month-old with me, and luckily I sat next to a nice woman with four boys of her own. She offered to keep an eye on him when I went to the bathroom. When you are traveling with kids, people might try to help you, and it is a good idea to let them.
4. Ask for help
In some cases, you will have to ask people to help you. One of my boys has autism so before every flight, I tell the flight attendants, and they allow us to board before regular boarding begins. This helps my son out to be able to find the right seat without being rushed to do so.
If you feel stuck, ask a flight attendant or someone working at a desk for help. Depending on the situation, you might want to ask the people who are around you to help. Most people would be happy to help you out during your travels.
5. Let some rules go
When traveling with children, you will have to let go of some of the rules you might normally have in your home. The middle of a flight isn’t the best time to enforce the “one hour a day” rule for screen time. Your children should be able to understand that you are not at home, that you are on vacation, and that things will be different.
6. Keep your sense of humor
Remember to keep your sense of humor during your trip. You will need it. If you take everything too seriously, you are going to stress yourself out. You want to get from your home to your destination without losing your mind and having a sense of humor about the situation will go a long way.
If you are frustrated by a delayed flight, try to make things fun and turn the waiting into a game. If you have a crying child, know that you are not alone and that plenty of people have flown with a crying child. Do what you can to calm them down and make it to your next stop.