Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holiday Traveling with Children

Families who are traveling to spend the holidays with family and friends this year are encouraged, by AAA Mid-Atlantic, to remember that children should be included in the planning process.

“Children are not just smaller adults. They require special attention and little bit of time to plan for their needs will go a long way towards preventing stress on your holiday journey,” suggested Windy VanCuren, spokesperson at AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Planning ahead does not mean planning every moment of the trip. When traveling with children, it is important to keep the schedule flexible. Don’t expect children to do too much or to follow a rigid schedule. “Keep your options open in the event children get bored. Many times, after a long day, kids are content to go back to the hotel and swim in the pool,” noted VanCuren.

AAA Mid-Atlantic offers the following tips for traveling with children:
  • Educate children about where the family is going and what they will be doing when they get there. Encourage them to ask questions.
  • Don’t let the little ones feel left out. Give them a sense of responsibility by letting them pack a small suitcase or bag with their favorite games. A child’s blanket or pillow can be a big help for small ones who have trouble sleeping in unfamiliar places.
  • Carry plenty of snacks, drinks and toys.
  • Remember prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines as well as a first-aid kit.
  • If traveling long distances, plans stops along the way to see interesting sights, visit friends, shop, etc. Breaking up the trip refreshes everyone for the next leg of the journey and remember children need more frequent stops than adults.
  • Be flexible in restaurant selections along the way – most children do not have adult tastes.
  • If driving, share the responsibilities for picking the music. For small children, pick out music or books on tape for the whole family to enjoy.
  • Give children space in the car. Because children have short attention spans, don’t try to restrict them over a long period of time.
  • Play games to keep children busy. Name state capitols, flowers or mottos from license plates, or hold a spelling bee. Coloring books and activity books are good bets for keeping children from getting bored.
  • Make plane rides more comfortable for children and infants by giving them something to suck or chew on. It will help relieve discomfort caused by changes in air pressure.
  • Always buckle up. Children are safest when they are properly restrained – it could mean the difference between a memorable vacation and a disastrous one.
  • Dress appropriately and comfortably for the weather at your departure point as well as your destination. Be prepared for weather changes with sweaters or rain jackets.
  • Children should always remain under direct supervision. Be alert to situations where your child’s safety could be threatened.

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