Keeping small children seated, quiet and entertained on a car or plane trip is a frightening prospect for most parents. But, with a little planning, travelling can be a fun experience for children and a relaxing one for parents. Here are some ideas on how to prepare for the journey and how to keep your child busy and happy on the way
Planning your trip
- Have everything from the entertainment to nappies, medicine to spare clothes prepared in advance and stored within easy reach.
- Take enough finger food and bottled water to last the journey, and any unexpected delays, but avoid sugary snacks since these will increase energy levels.
- Start your trip an hour or so before your child’s normal nap time. The chances are that they will amuse themselves for the first part of the journey and then fall asleep for the rest of it.
- If you are on the road, frequent stops will make the journey more bearable. Your child will enjoy stretching their legs, getting some fresh air and having a change of scenery.
- If you are catching a plane, get to the airport early. There is nothing worse than struggling through check-in when you are late. If your stress levels are high, your child will pick up on your mood, which will only make matters worse.
- Changes in air pressure can make little ears pop. Sucking and swallowing helps to relieve air pressure in the middle ear, so keep drinks or pacifiers available for take-offs and landings.
Best travel toys
- The best travel toys are quiet and compact and don’t break easily. Toys with small, moving parts are bound to end up under the seat.
- Favourite soft toys and books are essential, but have some new toys to provide interest and excitement.
- For babies, containers that fit together are fun to play with. They can be stacked, nested or used as hiding places for toys.
- For toddlers, a reusable sticker book will keep little hands busy. Stickers can be stuck on the window or the seat without any harm being done.
- Older children may sit quietly listening to their favourite music on an MP3 player with headphones. A favourite book will also keep them entranced for some time, but avoid books with small print in the car or you could end up with a sick child.
Try some of these tips on your next trip and you and your family may get to your destination in a more relaxed and happy frame of mind!
Dr Lin Day is the founder of www.babysensory.com .