Tips for parents traveling with preschoolers: Here’s a list for parents that will make traveling with preschoolers by car or plane a little easier. Long car trips with impatient preschoolers will likely bring a parents stress levels to the brim, but if you are a little more prepared for the unexpected, things will go better for you. These tips will help you keep your sanity as you drive or fly this holiday season, whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or your long awaited summer vacation.
The most important traveling tips for parents is to plan plenty of activities both in the car and along the way that will help pass the time. Simple car games like “I spy with my little Eye” and the “A, B, C” game are a great way to keep kids from getting bored and irritable after too many hours in the car.
Tips for Parents while Traveling with Preschoolers:
- Pack Activity Bags for your preschoolers.
- Organize the trip around your preschoolers regular schedules.
- Plan a period of physical activity to help your preschoolers cope with long sitting.
- Play Imaginative Travel Games in the Car.
- Prepare the kids ahead of time by learning about the place they will be going.
- Call ahead to find out about special attractions available during your holidays.
- Bring a little piece of home with you wherever you are traveling.
Pack little activity bags when you are traveling with preschoolers:
I like to pack little activity bags for my kids that they don’t get until the trip begins. They are usually stuffed with crayons, sticker books, coloring or drawing pads, and little toys that can stimulate big imaginations. The bags don’t have to cost a bundle. I have found that the best place for good deals is typically the dollar store. Consider packing thematic activities, especially if you are traveling during the holiday season.
Organize the trip around your preschoolers regular schedules:
The drive should be organized around the kids regular eating, napping, and activity schedules. It is a great mistake to plan to drive in the middle of the night. We have done this. Preschoolers will inevitably wake up as they are being transported to the car. The excitement of the trip will completely upset their normal resting schedule and you will more than likely have a tired, cranky preschooler on your hands for the rest of the day.
Plan a period of physical activity to help your preschoolers cope:
As much as possible, pick places to stop that have nice areas for physical activity. Bring a ball and have a spontaneous game of catch, kickball, or soccer.
Play Imaginative Travel Games in the Car:
We have a handy list of 10 things you can do while waiting in line with preschoolers. The list includes some handy traveling with preschoolers games for the car. Find ABC games, rhyming games, and a simplified Simon Says game for starters.
If you forgot one, then strike up a game of “Simon Says.”
Prepare the kids ahead of time by learning about the place they will be going:
A great way to survive a six to eight hour drive is to prepare the kids ahead of time for the upcoming trip. Tell them where they are going. Children as young as two-and-a-half will tolerate the long trip when they know where they are headed and what they have to look forward to. There are several ways to get the kids ready. First of all, take a trip to the library (or visit the International Children’s Library digitally) and get some books about where you are going. Call or visit the web site for the tourism department of the state or states you plan to vacation in and order brochures. In the weeks prior to your trip you and your preschoolers can view the materials and talk about what really excites and interests each of them. If it is feasible, offer to let your children pick out an activity they would love to participate in and work that into your trip. For example, maybe you have a child that would love to go horseback riding for the first time. The two of you could be on the look-out for television programs about horses, books about horseback riding, and people that you know that may have experiences to share.
Call ahead to find out about special attractions available during your visit:
Take the time to call the attractions you plan to visit before you go. You will get so much more information about those places after talking with the people who work there. For example, if you have a child with food sensitivities, you can find out ahead of time what type of menu is available and perhaps make arrangements before you go. Walt Disney World has many options available for kids with food allergies. It also helps to find out what kind of provisions are available or lacking when you have an infant or very young toddler traveling with you. Best of all, the staff may be able to tell you about special coupon deals or discounts that are available to you.
Bring a little piece of home with you wherever you go:
Finally, it is important to bring a little bit of home with you wherever you go. Be sure to pack your child’s favorite blanket or pillow, storybooks, and songs. It is not unusual for them to be apprehensive about sleeping in a strange place. Take their night-light with you if you plan on staying at someone’s house or perhaps a rental cabin and the kids will be in their own rooms, and be sure to keep the bed-time ritual as close to the one they have at home as possible. And, heaven forbid, if you lose or forget your preschoolers coveted stuffed tiger like we once did, you may want to check out Ebay or Amazon.com to see if you can get a quick replacement fast! (Fortunately, we got an identical one that shipped in two days.)
These are just a few important tips for parents to remember while planning how to travel with preschoolers during the holiday season. Hopefully these important parent tips will help you make a happy and memorable trip for both you and your preschooler. Happy travels!