With boredom, comes restlessness, and with hunger comes crankiness. A combination of this can mean an unpleasant trip, not only for the children, but for everyone traveling together. If you take some time to prepare before starting a long trip, you can make what might be an unpleasant experience into an adventure. The following five tips can help.
- Pack Travel Bags
When my sister’s children were young, she created a travel bagfor each child before each trip. Favorite stuffed animals, blankets, and toys were included. She also had finger snacks, and spill-proof water containers in the bags. Hunger and boredom may not be completely alleviated, but children will be much more cooperative if they have these items.
- Activity Books
Portable lap desk can provide each child with his or her own personal activity center. The lap desks can be used as tables for coloring books and other activity books that your child can draw, write, and color in. Some lap desks even have storage built in, but if not, be sure to remember a zippered pouch with colors, pens, and pencils.
The activity books should be new, or at the very least children should only be allowed to use them when traveling. However, new books will have your child more excited and entertained, than drawing books that have already been marked up.
- Purchase Toys and Games Designed for Traveling
To avoid the crying or nagging due to dropped toys or other items, purchase games and activity centers that are designed specifically for traveling. These travel toys will usually have pens attached by a string to an activity book, and have magnetic pieces for games or puzzles. At the same time, keep your child’s age in mind. Nothing is more devastating to travel plans than a trip to the emergency room for swallowed items. Make sure your children are old enough to understand the danger of putting anything, but especially magnet containing items, in their mouths.
By keeping everything within your child’s reach, and taking precautions for the unexpected, your child may have so much fun that he or she will not even realize how long you’ve been traveling. Having a variety of different engaging toys and games are even great for children to enjoy together.
- Pick up an Inexpensive Digital Camera for Each Child
In the past, a few disposable cameras could create hours of fun for children, but these days, an inexpensive digital camera would be better. Since it doesn’t cost much, you don’t have to worry about it if it breaks or becomes damaged by an accidental drink spill, especially if you purchase the waterproof type. Give each child a camera and ask him or her to take pictures of items that he or she has never seen before. This makes it fun and can keep children occupied for hours if traveling by ground. And because they are using a digital camera, you don't have the added expense of having the film developed.
Once you arrive at your final destination, visit a copy shop or department store to have your child’s pictures printed so he or she can immediately see what kind of pictures were taken. Younger children, especially, really enjoy taking pictures, so having a few extra camera SD cardsmight be a good idea.
- Bring Along Electronic Items
Both older and younger children enjoy electronic items, such as DVD players, music players, and handheld game systems. Depending on the age of your child, a movie, for example, can easily deliver two hours of non-stop entertainment. If deciding to pack along electronics, always remember to pack extra car chargers or batteries.
Keeping children entertained when traveling is easy with some pre-planning. Children love to be busy seeing things and doing things, so making frequent stops if traveling by car can also be a great way to break up a long trip. Be creative and think from your child’s perspective. After all, no one knows what your child loves more than you.
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