I’ve heard some interesting stories from parents taking their child overseas. It can be tough work but if you’re determined and resilient enough, you can make it manageable and painless. Considering how most road trips and airplane rides take huge chunks of time, you can find yourself having to reassure your child that everything is fine, everything is okay but in reality, they’re swimming in a pool of tears while bystanders taking the same flight as you give you the most disapproving stares unimaginable.
We understand that the inner travel bug within us wants to see the world and go on new adventures from time to time; to learn new perspectives and experience something fresh and exciting. If you consider yourself a travel bug and are willing to take your child on your next holiday somewhere, here are some tips you can follow to help them keep entertained while you reach your destination.
1. Get your children excited for this trip!
This is probably the easiest thing to do but sell it to your kids. Let them stand on their tippy-toes and see their faces light up when you say that the place that you’re going to beams excitement and joy. Giving them some high expectations on this trip will encourage them to be patient when it comes to sitting on a long car or plane ride. If you at least communicate to them that the trip is worth it, then they’ll most likely be cooperative and less cranky when it comes to those long, dwindling hours of travel time.
2. Surprise them with little rewards
Pack a goodies bag before you go on your trip and surprise them with a little gift every hour for being patient and respectful. Not only will this act as an incentive for your kids to be on their best behaviour, it will also showcase some positivity and encouragement for their efforts. Having that element of surprise can really keep them entertained, so feel free to mix it up a bit by putting snacks, toys, and books to read in the bag.
3. Set up some rules during the trip
Of course, it’s inevitable that your child will become squirmy during the trip, especially considering the long hours they have to sit around patiently. Communicating with your child with some ground rules can help them understand the consequences if they do misbehave during the trip. Also, note that there are incentives if they keep are good throughout the trip. You could also perhaps let them know what happens when they are getting punished; this could mean taking away their favourite gadgets or having no dessert after dinner. Be creative and most importantly, stick to the rules and don’t feel like you need to soften up when they look at you with those puppy eyes. Be firm and let them know you’re serious.
4. Remember to look after the older kids
In this day and age, the Nintendo and iPad are necessities 10-year-olds can’t live without so remember to not deprive your older kids of technology. If you don’t want them gaming too much, hand them over a Kindle tablet to read their first novel of the Harry Potter series or even bring a portable DVD player so they can watch their favourite movies. Variety is key so remember to mix things up so the complaints and the repeated ‘are we there yet’ is kept to a minimum.
5. Bring a mix of new and old toys
Your little ones should never go without being with their favourite toys, especially when you’re about to board a 16-hour flight to some far away country. It’s important to bring along their favourites so they don’t become easily upset. Bringing in some new toys can help too so it avoids boredom. They can also get creative and make stories with the toys and hold an interesting puppet show that can keep you entertained on the long trip too!
6. Download some children’s games and apps on your smartphone/tablet
If playing with toys is becoming old for your kids, download some appropriate games for children on your smartphone/tablet before hopping into the car for a long road trip or boarding your next flight. You can even be sneaky by downloading games that are educational, so your kids won’t even realise that you’ve set them up for a fun teaching lesson. Maybe your children need to work on their addition and subtraction or need to brush up on their reading skills, with the amount of overwhelming technology we’re spoilt with, the possibilities are endless!
7. Bring food that will last them a while
It’s a smart tactic to bring on-board some healthy fruit for your child to eat on your upcoming road trip or plane ride. Not only will this fuel them for a long time but you can offer them food in short bursts while also keeping them well-fed during the trip. You can give them the occasional sweets from time-to-time but we all know too well that children and sugar are a bad mix. Instead, opt-out for healthier alternatives such as grapes, sultanas, and strawberries.
Travelling light does not exist when you’re taking your little ones on an adventure but it will definitely be worth it if you all have a good time. Make the most of your travel adventures while your kids are young. Even though they might not remember those trips when they’re older, it will encourage them to see other parts of the world on their own accord, discovering the beautiful people, places and things that exist outside of their home country.