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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Traveling with little children

You'd think that a family vacation would be great fun.  Well, don't get your hopes up if you have preschoolers or babies.  While the rest of the family enjoys the change of scenery and visiting friends and family, little ones only know that they're not at home and their routine is disrupted.

You know he's thinking of something devious  :)
Babies younger than six months usually do fairly well.  All you need to do is make sure they're well fed, have clean diapers and have a comfortable and safe place to sleep.  As soon as they begin to crawl however, everything changes.  If there is ANYTHING even potentially dangerous where you are visiting, they will find it first.  And try confining an active baby in a portable crib and they will let you know of their displeasure loud and strong.

Toddlers and preschoolers aren't much easier.  They don't understand the majesty of the Grand Canyon and don't appreciate the expensive theme park you waited you whole life to visit.  They are heavy to carry (and they get tired easily!), picky about their food, and crabby when they don't get their naps.  They take one look at your favorite uncle and scream in terror.  To them, all they see is a scary stranger who wants to hug them.

Does this mean that you have to put off traveling with little kids for at least five years?  No, of  course not.  What you DO have to do is readjust your expectations.  Preschoolers still love the consistency of routine and familiarity.  As much as possible, working within those parameters will help everyone have a better time.  Familiar food at familiar times, nap times if possible and their favorite security blanket or stuffed animal will help them cope with unfamiliar territory and people.  Not forcing them to give Great Grandma a kiss (when they're scared to death of her!) and letting them make the first move with unfamiliar relatives will relieve tension for all.

Kids don't intend to spoil your long planned vacation.  It's just that their idea of a fun time might not be the same YOUR idea of fun.  Traveling with kids does get easier the older they get (generally) and little kids can be pleasant if you plan ahead and don't expect too much from them.  Remember...routine and consistency. 


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