Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tips For Traveling With Children

Summer is here . . . No more school . . . Family Vacations . . .

Traveling with kids can be tricky, and over the years we have traveled by air and by land with up to four young children. Through all those trips, we have learned and came up with some great ideas for traveling with kids.

I always let my kids pac some things for traveling. Books, toys, games, etc. They got to choose some of their favorite things. Then I would add some "surprises" to their bags. And always a favorite stuffed animal. And of course lots of snacks! They each had a travel bag of their own, weather we were traveling by car or plane.

One tip we learned on Oprah, was, before heading into a crowded airport, put a whistle around the neck of each of your children. Let them take a practice blow at home, then make it very clear this is not to play with it, it is only in case you get separated from Mom and Dad, you blow the whistle until we come and find you! Thankfully we never got separated, but it helped me relax taking preschool aged twins into large crowded places. It also helps to dress young kids in matching, bright colors that make it easy to spot in a crowd.
And while living far away from family, we took many cross country road trips. And that was before there were DVD players in cars. So we made our own by taking John's laptop, it fit right in between our seats on the arm rests of our mini van. And we could play DVD's for the kids. Shrek is a great movie for in the car because it has some great music and funny lines for the adults. And you have to be careful because some movies that have car chases and sirens going on can cause you to think your being pulled over, or that there was an accident. But, now a days everyone has their own DVD player with headphones, so you feel like your traveling alone. But, in doing that you can miss out on a lot of great times together!

The getting there can be half the fun! We love to play travel games in the car. I bought flash cards on the 50 states and every time we'd cross a border into a new state, we'd take turns reading all the fun facts about that state! We'd count how many different states license plates we could find, or play "I Spy". Our favorite is to try to read any personalized license plates we'd see and then come up with stories of why they would have put that on their car. The stories can get quite funny and even outrageous!

And being a musical family, we play "Name that Tune" with our iPods, where we'd play the first few seconds of a song and see who can name the song and the artist first. We'd also see how many songs we could come up with that have names of City's or States in them. And then move on to musical groups and/or songs with colors in them, etc. Being Youth Pastors for so long made me very creative in the group game department!

And the best tip I can give families hitting the road this summer is after you've packed the car, the last thing you need to throw into the car is a soccer ball. Then every time you stop at a rest area get that ball out and let the kids kick it and chase it around. It gets them moving after a long car ride and helps release some of that pent up energy!

If you have any tips for traveling with kids I'd love for you to share them with us too. Just put them in the comments of this post, so we can all benefit from them.

Remember, It's the Journey, not just the Destination!

"Happy Trails To You"


C. JoyBell C. said...

Hey! I like that whistle idea! Although I would just tie my son too my hip with two chains!


stefanie said...

Adventures in Odyssey gave us many peaceful miles, and we all enjoyed the stories.

Books on tape/dvd from the library.

Never heard of the whistle, but wish I had.