Travel, no matter how near or far, has so many benefits for children. But traveling with kids isn’t always so easy. Indeed, it can sometimes be a tumultuous experience.
Here are some tips to help you survive, we mean, prepare for your trip.
Enjoy the journey, not the destination
Family travel should be fun from the start, but can easily get derailed when a child is fearful or anxious about flying or driving in a car for long periods of time. For some children, traveling can be a thrill, and for others, it's intense, uncomfortable and stressful.
One idea: Discuss ahead of time the details of what to expect during the journey. Go through a visualization of the sights, sounds and experiences that can happen during the journey.
If your child is worried or anxious, validate their feelings and address them by coming up with a plan together. Help your child to relax either before or during travel with breathing techniques and mindfulness to help keep their body calm and relaxed.
Make sleep a priority
Before departing, make sure that children have had plenty of sleep and maintain their routine sleep schedules while traveling. Children who are well-rested tend to do better adapting to new time zones and sleep schedules. (Psst — a few ideas on how to do that.)
Can't we all just get along?
If you plan for the journey and invest in making it a fun experience, it will be easier to avoid backseat bickering and the constant "Are we there yet?" inquiries.
When planning, consider incorporating playlists, audiobooks, books and classic car games, such as the license plate game or "I Spy."
Also plan stops along the way when driving or regular walks or stretches on an airplane can help get the wiggles out and keep the mood positive. (If you're traveling along I-5, check out these play stops.)
Making memories that last a lifetime
Once you've made it to your destination, the hope is that your family enjoys the time together and that you make lasting memories.
Many families put a lot of time and energy into the planning of their itinerary and vacation activities. To create these memorable moments, it requires that everyone, including children, are present and willing participants.
One way to help children enjoy and notice their surroundings is to start the day with a meditation. Meditating can enhance a child’s moment-to-moment awareness of feelings, thoughts, body sensations and the surrounding environment.
Traveling together should be a fun, memorable bonding experience for families. Get the most out of your time together by planning not just for the destination, but the travel time that is required to get there.
So, how will you incorporate mindfulness into your family’s adventures this summer?
Want a guide to help you survive the summer? Download your "Summer Sanity" guide.