The summer season is upon us and families are getting on the road again! Traveling with kids can be exciting, meaningful, and almost always comes with its ups and downs. Here are four tips to help make traveling with young children more enjoyable!

  1. Buffer your schedule. When I’m traveling with my kids, I always build in extra time to get to the airport to sit down for a meal before getting on the plane. Surviving on snacks and airplane food can be a challenge and rushing to get to a long security line makes us all crazy. Having ample time to use the restroom (multiple times), fill your water bottles and get to the gate without rushing anyone, makes for a smoother transition for you and your kids. 
  2. Be flexible with your rules on travel days. Kids need some grace and flexibility on travel days. Give yourself a free pass to buy those delicious snacks, download the tv shows or movies so everyone can relax and enjoy their “vacation.” 
  3. Remind yourself that trips with our children are about having connected moments. Your child may want to doddle off on the path rather than feed the fish or watch the luau, and that’s ok! The memories that will last for your child are about the simple and often seemingly insignificant moments—with you! Release yourself and your child from any expectations of checking anything off a list. 
  4. Exhaustion and fatigue can drive any of us to be irritable and unpleasant to be around. Take cues from your child’s behavior as to when they have had enough, and a change of scenery is needed—all behavior is communication. If your child is off track, sassy or refusing to cooperate, that’s a good sign they may be ready for a break or some time away from the group. Your compassion and patience can go a long way in reducing stress for yourself, and for your child.  

Happy and safe travels!  

Jaimi Haydel is a parent coach at the Center for Children and Youth (CCY) with clinical experience in early childhood, trauma, domestic violence, divorce, and the complexities surrounding co-parenting and parallel parenting. In addition to her love of research and child development, Jaimi enjoys traveling, exercise, a daily hot cup of tea, and time outdoors with her two boys.

Interested in working with one of our expert parent coaches? Learn more here.