Traveling with small children is not an activity for the faint of heart, the disorganized, or those who are short on patience. It takes courage, planning, and patience to travel with children safely and even pleasantly.
First, it is wise to recognize the fact that your young child likes his comfort zone. He knows what to expect. There aren’t many unexpected and/or unpleasant surprises while he’s in his own home. When he is taken out of his comfort zone, he doesn’t know what to expect. He’s excited, but he is also anxious and even fearful of the unknown.
So here are some good ideas about traveling with small children:
1. Prepare the child for the trip. Kids really do hate surprises no matter what they say. A surprise, they quickly learn, can be a good thing, but it isn’t necessarily a good thing. Kids like sameness. So begin to prepare your child for going on a trip. Read him stories about riding in a car or a train or an airplane. Prepare him as best you can for what he will experience.
2. Plan ahead for the child’s physical needs. If he usually has juice and a little snack at a certain time, prepare to give him that snack at the usual time. Maintain the child’s eating and sleeping schedule as much as you can, and preparation will help you to do that.
3. Plan ahead for the child’s intellectual needs. Kids aren’t going to sit quietly with their little hands folded in their laps. A child’s work is his play. That’s the way he is leaning about the world, and he needs his tools (toys) for learning.
4. Keep the child belted into a restraint system at all times. It doesn’t matter whether you are traveling by car, train, or plane, accidents happen. Provide your child with as much protection as you possibly can, no matter whether he complains or not.