While some parents believe their little ones’ lack the awareness means they can’t appreciate everything that happens when on the road, taking them with you when you travel has many benefits for kids. It teaches them patience, independence, and responsibility. Traveling broadens a child’s world and cultivates cultural awareness. When you travel as a family, it provides endless opportunities for bonding and strengthening relationships. Children also learn a lot when they travel: history, art, geography, etc. Travel also instills tolerance and empathy in children while teaching them how to adapt to a situation.
If you are convinced of the benefits of traveling with your children, use the following tips to make it easier and more enjoyable for the whole family.
Map It Out
Whether you’re taking a drive through the countryside or hopping over to the continent, giving your child a travel map, where they can follow along with the trip, is both fun and educational. They can draw on their map, either tracking your family’s progress or doodling the landmarks that they see on the way. Maps help kids grow accustomed to directions and the names of different villages and cities. Plus, they provide a reference they can use to answer that time-honored question, “Are we there yet?”
Secure Your Home
Burglars are known to target homes when families are on vacation. Make sure everything is safe and sound back home with a home security system that alerts authorities if there is a break-in. Look for security systems that have features including motion detection, night vision, and weather resistance. Download your system’s app on your smartphone so you can check in on video surveillance at any point of the trip.
Avoid Motion Sickness
Nothing puts a damper on your child’s budding love of travel like motion sickness. Motion sickness can occur on a plane, boat, in a car, and basically every other type of transportation you could possibly take while on your family trip. It brings on waves of nausea, sweating, dizziness, and headaches. You can help your child overcome motion sickness with tools like acupressure wristbands and antiemetics — just double-check with your pediatrician before you administer. Other parents find tricks like opening a car window and letting children chew gum helpful. Finally, don’t let your child read books, play video games, or watch movies if these behaviors correlate with their motion sickness.
Always Leave Early
When you travel without children, you can be more liberal with your time. After all, half the fun is in the journey. However, when you have the tots in tow, sticking to a schedule and leaving early can help things run smoothly. When you always leave early, you give your family a buffer that allows for driving breaks, traffic, flight delays, and other travel mishaps that are bound to happen. Give yourself 10 to 15 minutes extra time to get where you’re going with your children.
GPS Is Your Friend
Having a GPS tracker on your child may feel a bit Big Brother-esque, but these handy little devices can save a life when used properly. Child locators and GPS tracker watches can pinpoint where you child is in the rare case they get lost in an unfamiliar place. You can pull up a coordinating app on your smartphone and find them in an instant. They can also help authorities locate you if your child is found. Look for a GPS accessory that is easy for your child to keep on their body rather than in a book bag or backpack that can easily be misplaced.
Traveling with your kids is great for their development, but it’s not always easy. Keep kids occupied and help them learn with fun and interactive travel maps they can follow and doodle on. Make sure your home is safe from burglaries with a security system. Talk to your pediatrician if your children are prone to motion sickness. Leaving early gives your trip some flexibility if you hit a roadblock. Finally, look into a GPS accessory your child can wear so you can find them if you are separated.