When my kids were babies and toddlers, I thought this must be the hardest because I have to work around there schedules, but this year I learned new lessons of traveling with children in general especially siblings. We drove to Kentucky to see the bluegrass and horses. Thank goodness for that bourbon.
You are probably thinking, 11 hours in a car, that seems like a bad start, but to be honest, that was the easiest part. With portable DVD player and tons of snacks, the boys were champions during the drive. Things kids like: eating out, seeing other kids, and picking the color they want to win at the horse race.
My son who will be going into first grade loved the tours and asked questions, whereas, my other son was complaining of his feet hurting, that it was boring, or running around like a crazy person.
And boy, oh boy, do they fight! “He touched me”, “he looked at me”, or “he ordered the same thing as me”. At one point, I had to laugh not to cry. And of course I heard, “Don’t laugh at me.” As the argued and complained, I thought, “What am I doing wrong?”
What I learned over the years is parenting is hard and trying to please kids and still make time for yourself is even harder.
Over the last six years these are the lessons I have learned:
-Eat before going anywhere or bring snacks
-Allow them to spend time outdoors or doing an activity
-Reward good behavior-this could be verbal praise
-Follow through on your discipline plan at home on the trip/Stay consistent
-Separate the kids at the same place with different activities to give them some time alone if possible
-Provide down time; even if they don’t nap it can help them calm down; we read books.
-Make the experience fun-point out things you know that they will like, or tell them about yourself, or connect it to something they will understand.
-If flying try to go direct.
-When the kids are asleep make time to talk to your spouse. You’re both tired and probably stressed, but being on the same team will make your experience better
-Allow the kids choices. Ask them which activity they would like to do first or what they would like to do before going on the trip so that they can feel that they have a voice
-Check that restaurants are kid friendly or have kid menus-we ran into some that didn’t and made ordering more complicated and the cost more.
-Look for local coupons; you may be able to do more on your budget
-Worry less about your phone and more about the time
-Take lots of pictures
Traveling is a great way for kids to see the world and to connect as a family. I highly recommend doing it with your children , but do it while keeping your sanity.