It's wonderful to see the world through the eyes of a child. There is freshness and wonder which they bring which makes adulthood seem jaded and washed up. Children love to discover new things and places and they are very open in their admiration or disgust. These are some of the reasons why traveling with children is such fun.
This does not mean that there are no challenges when one is traveling with children. These can be overcome however with careful planning and co-operation from the children. There is of course differences in requirements when traveling with a baby, a toddler, a ten year old and a teenager. Each child at different stages brings different challenges.
When traveling with children, one of the most important considerations is keeping the child or children in sight without losing them. This is of course highly dependent on their ages and older children are better able to understand and follow instructions. Younger children may prove more challenging as they require a great deal of attention to meet their physical needs such as feeding and clothing.
Having help is a good way to ensure that you travel successfully with children. Managing more than one child on the train, bus or an aircraft can be difficult if you have no assistance. The degree of difficulty depends on the age and needs of the child. Having the care of one or more children under the age of 8 years as you travel can be challenging.
It is always a good idea to pack games and toys which can entertain and stimulate the minds of the children. Children who are bored are likeliest to find themselves involved in activities which can be troublesome. This includes marking on public walls, frequent visits to rest rooms, fusses with siblings and other challenging behavior. Be sure to bring along their favorite toys, books or games.
Even though they may be very excited to visit new places and make new friends, there is a need to ensure that the children have some regularity in their schedule as it relates to their eating and sleeping habits. Feed them substantial, nutritious meals in between activities and encourage them to rest at a specific time each day. On the actual travel days, look for long intervals while you wait on your transport to encourage in between naps. Be prepared to stay up a little longer at bedtime given the interruption in their regular sleeping schedule.
Once you arrive at your destination, encourage the children to participate in physical activities appropriate for their age and development stage. This is a good way for them to use up excess energy and to get a good night's rest. You will also have the opportunity to get some much needed sleep once they are in bed.
Carry the appropriate equipment and clothing to make your travel time as easy and as stress free as possible. This may mean a stroller, comfortable sneakers or slippers, socks or baby slings. Where necessary make contact with airlines, bus companies or train stations and find out their policies with regard to any special equipment you may need to take along. Traveling with children can be fun and exciting if you plan for it.