Traveling with kids? Here's some advice: before heading out on your next family vacation, learn the tips that will make this trip successful for everyone.
Packed into a station wagon, the Griswalds' miserable cross-country trek to Wally World ended in a chaotic combination of road kill, drug use and armed hostages. Although the film was extreme, there's no doubt that traveling with kids presents a parental challenge.
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As you plan your vacation, prepare your kids for what's going to happen. Let them know what the travel plans are, where you'll be stopping along the way and how many Ding Dongs they'll get to eat. The better prepared they are, they less they'll nag.
Before you even buy the tickets, pull out your favorite parenting book and review the important discipline skills you'll need to maintain a peaceful, enjoyable environment. Decide what rules and routines will be followed while you're away. Talk with the kids about what behavior you expect from them.
Even if you're heading for the tropics, there's always the chance of rain and of you being stuck in your hotel room. Even if it's sunny the entire vacation, there will be times you'll want the kids to be quietly entertained. Bring along as many lightweight/small-size games and activities that you can, like puzzles, clay, balloons, stickers, Legos, travel-size games and activity books.
Many a train, plane or car trip is ruined by bored kids waiting for the fun to begin. Make the trip part of the fun, by bringing along "fun baggies" full of new activities. (See the examples above.) Bring favorite snacks even if food is provided, since they probably won't like what's served. Bend a few rules, such as allowing the kids to chew bubble gum. Bring along a soccer ball and stop along the way for a quick game to help the kids release all that restrained energy.
Excerpted with permission by NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group Inc. from Perfect Parenting, The Dictionary of 1,000 Parenting Tips by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright.