The Kid Connection…”Holidays: To travel or not to travel?”~by Stefanie Pechan

This past Thanksgiving we did something we had not ever done before. We stayed home and family came to us. With three little ones, we finally put our foot down on traveling every single holiday. It just got to be too much: the “are we there yets”, tantrums at being in the car so long (even with multiple DVD’s), the “he’s on my side”; the list goes on. So, for the first time, we woke up Thanksgiving morning and leisurely went about our day until dinner time. We didn’t get in the car that entire weekend!……

If you have small children, traveling is not as simple as packing some clothing into a suitcase. There’s diapers, sippy cups, snacks, stuffed animals and extra toys for the drive, DVD’s they haven’t seen in a while, books for bedtime, blankies, portable potty, and more. My husband and I laugh at the sight of our van; stuffed full of all the necessary items we need for just a simple weekend visit to Grandma’s house. It takes some serious planning!

Sometimes, you just have to do what is best for your family. If being in the car for hours and hours is something you are dreading, consider staying home for a change. It doesn’t mean that you have to do that each and every year; sometimes, just taking one holiday every now and then can make a difference and save your ears from the ever popular, “are we there yet?”.

Realizing that holidays are sometimes the ONLY opportunities for family gatherings, here are some tips to help make traveling with children a little less painful. Be sure to have a variety of options to keep the little ones entertained. A few suggestions would be a portable DVD player (and maybe a new movie that they have not seen before; swap movies with a friend or borrow from the local library), a handheld game system, snacks, books, special toys only brought out for car trips, etc. Planning your travel time will also make a difference. If you depart at your children’s bedtime, most likely they will fall asleep, making a nice quiet trip for everyone. (That’s what we try to do if we have to travel anywhere. We feed the kids dinner and do our usual nighttime routine. Then we leave on our trip. Each time the kids are usually asleep after about 20 minutes. We don’t put on any movies as that would only stimulate them and keep them awake. We usually turn on talk radio or some classical music).

Here’s wishes for all to have a happy and safe holiday season! If you have some travel tips to share, please post below in the COMMENTS section! We are always looking for great ideas. =)