Learning Care Group News: November 26, 2013

Childtime Offers Family Travel Tips for Happy Holidays

NOVI, Mich., Nov. 26, 2013 – Bring on the holiday adventures, road trips and family visits!  While it’s a joyous time of year, the hustle and bustle of the season can create anxiety for children.  Take the stress out of the journey by following a few simple guidelines from Childtime:

1.     Talk it Up.  A few days before you leave, tell your small child about the family trip. “We’re going to stay at Grandma’s for a few days.  We’re going to leave early on Thursday to get there. Let’s pack some things to take with us.  We need to take some clothes, and we know we’ll want to bring Teddy. Is there another toy you’d like to take to play with in the car?”  Even if they don’t understand all the details, children are comforted by their parents’ explanations and by being involved.
2.     Roll With It.  Traveling with children requires flexibility. Emergencies, delays or car sickness can strike at any time. Keep basic supplies nearby: snacks, wipes, diapers, plastic bags, a first aid kit and one extra outfit per child.  Bring the right attitude and have a Plan B.  If you’re flying, for your carry-on, pack smart and light!

3.     Make the Backseat Comfy:  Make sure you have lightweight blankets, pillows, neck rests and stuffed animals.  Let your children help in choosing favorite toys, books and music to have on hand. Bring the binky.

4.     Set Clear Guidelines:  Remind your children of your expectations before visiting grandparents or going to the airport.  Acknowledge and praise good behavior.  Remember to have realistic expectations. Even if you are in a special place, your child is still a child and will act like one.
5.     Make Frequent Sanity Stops.  For every 2 hours on the road, children need at least 15 minutes to run around, release tension and burn excess energy. Take at least 30 minutes for lunch. A drama-free drive always trumps “making good time.”

6.     When Possible, Stick to Routines. This applies especially for younger travelers. Keep the stress of the unfamiliar to a minimum with consistent meal and nap times, and regular routines like reading a book or drinking milk before bed.
7.     Encourage Learning:  Ask “what if” or “how do you think” questions, play games (such as the license plate game), make up stories or draw pictures about your adventures. These are all great ways to encourage learning during vacations.

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