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Change Dread To Delight When You Travel With Children

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Yes, you can find delight in traveling with your children.

  • For 20 years we drove about 4,000 miles the first two weeks of September on a family vacation.
  • We also flew to Tucson, AZ in January or February to visit Dan’s family every year for about ten years.
  • In addition, we rented a cabin most summers to relax for a week or ten days.
  • That’s a lot of travel with three children born in five years. Then our youngest got leukemia at 18 months, but even that didn’t stop us.

I’m here to tell you that while it wasn’t all fun and games, we had fun and we made great memories. If there wasn’t enough fun involved, we might not have continued doing it for all those years.

A lot of you will travel for the holidays so I hope some ideas I share will be helpful. I also hope some of you will join in the comments and leave some ideas of your own because I don’t know them all.

Expect needs

Think ahead about what your children will need. Depending on their ages, this will vary, but take time to think this through. You might also want to think about what you and your husband will need.

Prepare them

We spent a few minutes each evening for about a week before a trip discussing where we were going and how we would get there.

Discussions will be different for car travel vs plane travel, but you need to let them know your expectations.

For instance, if going by plane you could have them sit close together (at least 2 rows of chairs) and explain how all the seats connect and how their movements and actions will affect the other passengers. See if they can come up with ideas for how they can be kind to those sitting near them. Maybe even act out getting jostled about by others in close quarters.

Plan fun things

  • One car trip I was giving an M & M to the first child to spot a water tower. It kept them busy until we came over a hill and there were about eight water towers in view and everyone saw them.
  • Somewhere along the line, we realized we hadn’t taught our children any map skills. For the next few trips, we got each of them a map and had them follow along and tell us what was coming, how far away from the next stop we were, etc.
  • Our son loved math, so we had him figure mileage when we stopped for gas and keep track of how much we were paying per gallon and all those details.
  • Both our girls had a period where they loved to crochet. Not to miss out, Eric wanted to learn too. We got him some camo yarn, and he contentedly crocheted away on several trips. If he ran out of yarn we just pulled it out and he started over again since he wasn’t really making anything.
  • The license plate game is always fun. It provides exercise too as they walk around the parking lot checking cars when we stop.
  • I can’t forget to add listening to audiobooks. We have listened to hundreds!

That’s my shortlist, but hopefully, it will spark some fun ideas for your family.
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