Both new and seasoned parents are bound to have some mistakes every now and then. For example, traveling with kids sets a new bar of difficulty for parents. Compared to staying at home, more factors that you have to consider coming into play.
For starters, is your car kid-ready? It is important for the car seat to be absolutely compatible with the child as mentioned by this useful source. It’s these kinds of details that are easy to overlook, especially when they seem “okay” to the eyes. But don’t beat yourself too hard; not all athletes can perform their 100% every day.
Yes, we’re using sports as a metaphor for parenting. Why not? Practice makes you better, and you’re improving your physical, mental, and emotional strengths when raising kids! So to get you on your A-game, we have written the three common traveling mistakes when you’re with kids.
Pack Lightly and Smartly
You might be the perfect packer when you’re packing for yourself. However, packing becomes a bit trickier when you’re traveling with kids. Depending on their age group, you can either guide them and let them do it themselves or you can to do it yourself. With the former, you can practice compromising with them about the things that they can bring. Perhaps they wouldn’t need their whole toy kitchen collection for camping, don’t they?
However, it’s not just the kids that you should compromise with. While being ready is an excellent characteristic, it is best not to overdo it. For example, it’s tempting to bring 10 changes of clothes but is it necessary for the duration of your stay? Or should you bring 3 pairs of rubber shoes if you’re going to the beach? Pack lightly and make sure you have not forgotten any essentials. You wouldn’t want to spend extra for baggage allowance (i.e., when flying), nor buy toiletries at twice the price.
Let Your Children Indulge a Bit
And while we’re talking about packing, don’t forget to bring distractions. Especially during long car rides, this is the secret to keeping the “are we there yet?” question at bay. Opt for snacks that wouldn’t trigger motion sickness or tummy ache. You might assume that your child can last hungry until the next gas station but a pack of chips can save you from the hangry (hungry + angry” child. You can also let your children indulge a bit with toys and gadgets to avoid tantrums in the middle of nowhere.
Safety and Comfort are Non-Negotiable
Lastly, if you’re using a vehicle, make sure that it is child-friendly. Other than safety, the proper car seat can keep your child from discomfort during long car rides. As a bonus, it also restricts their movements and keeps them from bothering their siblings. You should also check with the airline guidelines if you opt to bring a seat for your kid in the plane.
Not Establishing Rules
Scheduled Breaks and Stops
Before you get into the car or go to the airport, establish rules with everybody. For example, never take off seat belts or get off the car seat until mom and dad says that it’s okay. You can also set scheduled stops for meals and pee breaks. This way, you can manage your time for traveling better. Your children can’t also argue with you if you don’t stop at every restaurant they see.
Your Bag, Your Responsibility
Another rule that you can set is to have everyone take responsibility for the bag they carry. This means checking before and after leaving if they have packed everything that they need in their carry-on. For kids, their bags could have their gadgets, toys, and snacks. However, be prepared that you may need to do some double-checking and carrying the bags yourself.
Stick to Guidelines and Policies
And speaking of rules, familiarize yourself with the guidelines and policies set by the airline or the destination you’re going to. We all hate ignorant tourists, but adding undisciplined children in the mix? Just no.
Plan a Day/Week/Month Ahead of Traveling
Accept that you can only do spontaneous travels if you don’t have kids. Sure it was fun being surprised by whatever is in store for you, but you’re just setting yourself for stress if you have kids. It is always better to do your research and plan everything ahead of time.
Book in Advance
Will My Kids Like It There?
When planning trips, you should also consider the age group of your children. For example, babies until around 2 years old are going to be easier to travel with compared to older children. If you’re dealing with newborns, you can pretty much take them everywhere, and they wouldn’t fuss as long as they are comfortable. Just make sure that you are also sticking to their sleeping and eating schedules.
What about the itinerary itself? This part is quite easy since all you have to do is choose what you want to do. If you want to go on theme parks, then opt for one. The point is, go to where you want to spend your time in and not just anywhere with tickets on sale. However, it is crucial that you are also considering what everyone else wants. For kids, you can lay out a list of destination choices and let them pick where they want to go.
Just Have Fun
While it might seem exciting to make the trip educational, make sure that your kids are having fun as well. You can start with places that your kids will love and use all their energy in. And when they’re tired and less cranky, you can visit places that they may call boring, even if they are very fun for you.
However, make sure that the place is safe and allows kids. You may want to skip art galleries that may invite children to knock things over or plays where kids might scream that they want to go already.
It will also help if you know the weather beforehand, so that you can bring everything possibly useful. Again, this will save you the hassle and money of buying things that you already have. You also get to save your kids from waiting too long or mentioning that they’re cold 20 times per minute.