Tips on Preparing Your Child for Holiday Travels


Are you bracing yourself to travel with your child for the holidays? They say it’s about the journey, not the destination, but let’s face it: planning a trip with your child for the holidays really is about the destination. You want everyone to arrive happily, safely and—perhaps most importantly of all—quickly. Then you can enjoy time with family to its fullest.

If you’re fearing a river of tears, have no fear. With these leading tips on how to prepare your child for holiday travels, you’ll reach your destination before you know it.

Give yourself extra time

If you’re the type of person whose goal it is to arrive at the gate just as their flight is boarding, it’s time to make a change. One of the most difficult things—especially for young children—is transitions. It doesn’t matter if your child really wants to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. They’re not going to want to put their shoes on exactly when you want them to. Remember: all this travel stuff is old hat for you, but for your child, it’s still a new experience.

That’s why it’s crucial to leave yourself plenty of time. Do as the TSA says and arrive at least two hours before your flight. The airport will be busy during the holidays anyway, so you may just need that time to check in and go through security. And if your child throws a temper tantrum that delays things a bit, it won’t be a problem.

Plan ahead

One way to avoid many of the stresses of holiday travel is to have all your ducks in a row. No parent wants to be caught without that one thing they really need, whether it’s a diaper or a favorite stuffed animal. Just like Santa Claus, you should be making a list and checking it twice. Here are at least a few items you shouldn’t forget:

  • Identification for all family members
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Baby wipes
  • Toys, games and any other entertainment
  • Snacks, snacks and more snacks
  • Drinks

Talk about the trip

Talking to your child about travel ahead of time can make everything easier. You may want to have your child draw the trip step by step. This will help them visualize the journey and make them more comfortable. This is especially true if your child is new to flying. There are many children’s books that cover this subject well and can help your child deal with any fears. This is also a good time to set expectations about behavior during travel.

Get the good stuff

Everyone wants to save money, but skimping on travel gear could come back to haunt you. This might be the right time to purchase a better stroller that won’t break during the trip, or new backpacks and luggage that will hold everything you need. It will pay dividends over the years of traveling as a family.

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