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Travel Tips for Parents: 5 Easy Ways to Keep Kids Happy on the Go



Travel Tips for Parents 5 Easy Ways to Keep Kids Happy on the Go

Photo: Tatiana Syrikova/Pexels

Hitting the road with your little ones can be an exciting adventure, but it can also feel like navigating a minefield of potential meltdowns and tantrums. Whether it’s a long car ride, a plane journey, or even a seemingly simple trip to the grocery store, keeping kids happy and engaged can be a challenge, to say the least.

But fear not, weary travelers! Here are five simple ways to transform your next outing from a potential disaster into a positive experience for everyone involved:

Bring a “distraction arsenal”

A “distraction arsenal” doesn’t mean loading up the iPad for mindless screen time. Instead, it means curating a selection of age-appropriate toys, books, and activities that will capture your child’s attention and keep them occupied. Whether you hit up the best baby stores online or ask for hand-me-down toys from family members, the key here is novelty.

Pack a few new or rarely used toys alongside familiar favorites to provide entertainment while sparking curiosity and creativity. A small bag filled with coloring books, crayons, sticker books, toy cars, and interactive toys can work wonders. To save your sanity, include a few quiet activities like books or audiobooks.

Embrace the power of play

Play games like “I Spy” or “Alphabet Bingo,” sing songs together, or tell stories to turn the journey itself into an interactive experience. Playful interaction keeps boredom at bay while strengthening the bond between you and your child. It also provides opportunities for learning and development through the power of imaginative play.

To get started, adapt games and activities to your child’s age and interests. For younger children, simple games like “peek-a-boo” or singing nursery rhymes can be highly engaging. As they grow older, encourage more complex games and storytelling.

Pack healthy snacks and water

Hunger pangs are a recipe for disaster, so pack healthy, portable snacks that your child enjoys. Readily available healthy snacks help maintain your child’s energy levels—something sugary treats deplete. Best of all, they keep crankiness and frustration at bay.

Opt for portion-controlled snacks like fruits, vegetables, cheese sticks, yogurt, or whole-grain crackers. You’ll also want to include a water bottle to keep little ones hydrated, especially during long journeys.

Take regular breaks

Break up long journeys with regular stops, as sitting still for long periods can be uncomfortable and frustrating for young children. Frequent stops allow kids to stretch their legs, get a much-needed change of scenery, and explore their new surroundings while burning off excess energy.

Plan your route with rest stops in mind. Or, if you spot a scenic location, pull over for a quick break. Encourage your child to run around and explore the surroundings (while remaining in your line of sight). It’s also worth coming prepared to have a picnic lunch outdoors.

Manage expectations and be prepared

Be realistic about your child’s needs and limitations by accepting that there will be moments of fussiness or boredom. If you don’t assume the little ones will sit quietly for hours on end, then you’ll be better prepared for whatever happens.

You can get into the right mental state by being patient, understanding, and flexible. On the practical side of things, come prepared with extra wipes, a change of clothes, and a first-aid kit for unexpected spills or messes.

A little planning and preparation go a long way toward ensuring a smooth and enjoyable travel experience for you and your little ones. By incorporating these simple tips, you can transform your next outing into a positive collection of memories for the whole family. Now, buckle up, embrace adventure, and enjoy the journey!

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