Travelling with tots in tow can sometimes feel like taking a trip with ticking time bombs - you find yourself constantly worrying what will set them off and how you'll survive. Holidays are supposed to be a time of relaxation and fun, but travelling with children can be hard work. Fortunately, there are some tried and tested techniques you can use to restore the peace quickly...
Kids become grouchy when they are allowed to get too hot, too tired, or too hungry. Keep them pacified by sticking to regular bedtimes, stocking up on sun hats and light clothing, and carrying a selection of healthy snacks to keep their energy levels boosted.
A new location seems to trigger kids to push your boundaries. Calmly let them know at the start of your holiday that a new place equals new, stricter punishments. Spell out what the sanctions will be if they don't behave well.
If you threaten punishments but don't follow through, your kids will quickly learn that they can get away with bad behaviour. When you threaten to stop your kids from going to an attraction or getting what they want on holiday as a punishment, don't cave in and let them have the ice-cream or the day out at the theme park just because you feel bad. Children need to learn that their actions have consequences - otherwise they will always be a nightmare to travel with.
As a parent, you can probably tell when your little one is gearing up for a massive meltdown. When you are on holiday, it can be tempting to ignore the warning signs and hope that the family can go on enjoying uninterrupted fun. Unfortunately, such wishful thinking rarely pays off. Pay close attention to your child's mood so that you can spot the warning signs. When tots start getting grouchy, it might be time for a nap, a snack, or a change in activity to avoid a major tantrum.
When your child starts shrieking in public, calmly remove him or her to a quiet location out of the way of other people. Make your child stay in the boring time-out area until he or she calms down. Don't engage with your child during this time; responding by arguing, lecturing or shouting will only prolong the tantrum.
As a parent, it is your job to bring up your children to be healthy, happy, well-adjusted adults - not to be responsible for the happiness of every passing tourist. While it's a good idea to show consideration and respect for your surroundings - for example, taking your child outside if he or she starts shrieking during a cinema showing or musical performance - you're not obliged to give in to your toddler's demands in order to keep the peace. If anyone does get offended by your child screaming during time-out, smile sweetly and apologise, but don't give up your right to parent in the way you see fit. Giving into a child's demands to shut him or her up will only lead to problems in the long run.
Although travelling with kids is hard work, it is also extremely rewarding. Holidays are the perfect opportunity to spend time together as a family. You are sure to return home with valuable memories that will last a lifetime.
Sophie White is a part of a network of bloggers writing about travel on behalf of companies such as American Express. Frequent flyer card holders can benefit from frequent flyer points and other rewards in entertainment, shopping and more!
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