You never have to be more organised when travelling than when you are with the kids! Kids are full of energy, and they will expel that energy anyway they can. Of course, if they are cooped up in the car, on a train or a plane, everyone around you is going to know about it. Families are starting to plan long car journeys and holidays with the kids in mind.
Long gone are the days when kids could move about freely in the car, swapping seats and getting cuddles from you. We are all strapped down for the duration of the journey. Of course, that doesn’t work for kids. They need to move about and exercise those vocal chords! Tiny tots in particular should be free to move around as much as possible each day to help their bones and muscles develop properly. Most child car seats recommend a maximum of 2 ½ hours use per journey. It’s easy to forget babies need breaks from the car, when they have nappies on!
If you are going on holiday with the kids, the journey getting there needs to be planned as meticulously as the holiday itinerary itself. If you are driving to the airport, it’s worth looking at the types of meals available at motorway stops, and checking their opening times. If you are planning somewhere with a long haul flight, try breaking the holiday up. Travel agents can help you take an overnight stop halfway, breaking the flight into two shorter bursts. A shorter time for the kids to be cooped up may save your sanity!
Using an overnight stop near the airport needn’t be boring. See if you can find soft play centres, amusement parks or other family attractions nearby. For example, if you were flying from Gatwick airport and staying in a Gatwick Guest House in Horley, you would be close to the town’s Wacky Warehouse softplay. It’s a great treat for good behaviour on a long journey for them too. If nothing else, it might wear them out enough to give you a well-deserved good night’s sleep!
When you finally do get to the airport, try to provide the kids with some interesting sit-down activities. You may want to pack some flashcards with numbers, letters and colours for the little ones. Older children may enjoy some story books and colouring pencils. Teenagers may be particularly challenging to cater for if your flight does not allow electronics. If you are allowed offline devices like iPads or Smartphones, fill them up with favourite movies, ebooks and games. Alternatively, try some popular teen magazines.
Being confined to the small spaces on a plane can provide your family opportunities for some heart-to-hearts. While your conversations are not entirely private, it can be useful to have a real catch-up and find out what has been going on in eachothers lives. You could try picking some topics to talk about before you leave the house. Write them on some small pieces of paper and put them in a little bag to be picked out randomly. It’s a great game to kick-start some conversation with your family.