We love our kids, but let’s be honest – taking them on long trips can be an absolute nightmare! They can easily become irritable, cranky, and will squabble among each other for hours on end. When you’ve put your hard-earned time and money into a family holiday, this can put a dampener on the trip.
The Real Insurance Family Travel Survey recently revealed that 47.7% of respondents cited the worst thing about holidaying with their family was dealing with grumpy and tired children. However, as challenging as kids can be, it’s still important to take them with you.
After all, it’s not their fault they have shorter attention spans, get tired quickly, and need looking after – it’s just how it is. So, to make your family holiday as memorable and fun as it should be, you’ll need to do some extra planning before you go.
Keeping your kids comfortable in transit
From surviving long car trips to sleeping on planes, getting the kids to your destination is half the battle. While packing treats and playing I-spy are classic options, they’ll only go so far. Here are three more tried and tested travel hacks:
1. Get your kids excited
Whether you’re going bushwalking in Tasmania or flying to Disneyland in California, think about ways to get your kids interested in the destination. Talking about Mickey Mouse for a whole plane trip might not be your idea of good conversation, but if it keeps the little ones happy, you’ll have to suck it up.
2. Use technology
We can’t escape it – so why not take advantage of it? Pack the iPad for long car trips, allowing your kids equal time to watch their favourite shows or play games. Just remember to mix up the screen time with regular stops and other healthy distractions.
3. Keep to normal routines
If you’re travelling in the same time zone, try to keep to your children’s usual eating and sleeping routines. If not, switch up your routines at home before you head off – just to help them adjust more quickly. For babies and toddlers, it can even be worth heading off on a road-trip at naptime.
4. Don’t fight with your partner
Just because your kids are squabbling, doesn’t mean you and your partner should too. Children will mirror their parents, so try your best to keep it cool and lead by example.
Involve your children in trip planning
One way to keep your kids entertained while travelling is to get them involved early on. This way, they’ll be invested in the trip and, hopefully, better behaved. With their input, you’ll probably find your family holiday turns out better than expected.
To start, head to your local library or jump on the Internet to research the places you’re going together. By doing this, your kids can check out the photos and tell you what looks like fun and what looks boring (to them). Go a step further and read about the history and culture of the places you’re visiting, or tell them the stories behind some of the attractions you’ll see.
If you’re heading to a non-English speaking country, why not teach them some local lingo? This will get them excited to test out their newfound language skills. Plus, hearing your children bust out another language is super cute!
Remember, children can be set in their ways. While holidays are exciting, some kids get nervous about the break in routine. Talking about holiday plans, and involving them early in the process is a great way to soothe their worries and prepare them for a great family holiday.
Tatiana Day is a dedicated mum of three beautiful children who keep her on her toes! As Head of Corporate Affairs at Real Insurance and with a background in PR and journalism across Financial Services she is keenly interested in the evolving life of the modern Australian family and the pressures put on it. When she can find some downtime, Tatiana enjoys cooking, music and breathing in the great outdoors.