Summer Travel With Kids: All The Top Tips To Make It Go Super Smoothly By Mama Mariken Bouhas Janssen, a specialist in parenting and child development & founder of Pure Parenting
It is nearly the end of the year and for most of us it means a long summer ahead with (lots of) traveling and staying in various places with different family or/and friends with the kids. This is a fun, relaxing and lovely period of the year but there are also some difficulties you will be facing when being away from your family home and put out of your daily routine and structure for weeks. It demands a lot of flexibility and adaptation from you and your kids. Do you feel you are well enough equipped?! Here are some tips:
How to cope when the kids are away from their dad (and mamas) for weeks
In many cases, dads are only able to join for a shorter period so the kids will have to miss their father for some time. Some working mums are letting their children stay with family as they cannot get time off that long either. In both ways the kids are not with one/ two parents for a while. It’s normal this creates some worries for parents. Please make a routine in staying in contact/ touch with each other. Send a message, spoken or written, add a picture when sending it. You can do this at the end of the day or at the start of the day- even twice a week works well. Children cope better if they feel they can share their experiences with the person(s) they are missing
2. How to make sure that children don’t feel unsettled when staying with family /friends
Children need familiar belongings, a stuffed animal, their favourite book or favourite toy, when being away from home. With little ones, we decide what that is for them and older children can choose a few things themselves.
Make sure that children have toys and can do different activities where ever they are as they feel better and behave better when their environment is interesting for them and they can play and explore. Bring some of their favourite items, introduce a special holiday toy/game and make sure that they feel free and it’s safe for them to entertain themselves.
3. How to make sure that grandparents/friends etc follow your rules
If you are staying with friends and family or both, make sure that when you make plans or talk about all the fun things you are looking forward to do together, you also let them know in advance what you think is needed to make it a successful time as well. Which ingredients are important for you/ your kids to have a great stay somewhere?
4. Have a think before hand
What you need or what you think your children need to be able to have a good time and make the most of it. What is important for you regarding rules and agreements in your parenting when being with others. Nothing is more frustrating than feeling like you have no control over your children’s behaviour when you/ they are staying somewhere. Who is it that should correct them, decides the bedtimes, chooses how much chocolate cookies they eat, how long they watch tv etc. Make a top three list and have a conversation about it with your friends or family. This can safe irritations. People have more understanding and are more willing to try when you let them know what is it that you expect or hope for. You can also ask about theirs!
To give your children a better overview, you can make a simple calendar of the summer activities, for example per week, before you leave. Make it together with your kids and explain/ talk about what you will be doing, where it will be and with whom. Make sure that it is easily accessible for all of you. For small kids, starting around the age of three, you can use small drawings/ pictures and colours for he weeks and for older children you can use writing and numbers for the weeks. It helps to visualize things for children, they see when things start and end, rather than only talking about them as it gives some kind of support/ grip for them and you.
In general it is highly positive to build relationships with others – family and friends- and this period is also an opportunity for your children to develop resilience!
If you would like to have a more personalized plan for this period or have more questions, please get in touch with me, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hero image via Vogue