Whether your travels take you to a neighbor island or across the ocean, traveling with children can be hard…but it doesn’t have to be! The keys to successfully navigating your journey – figuratively and literally – are to prepare ahead of time and help your child understand what to expect before you leave.
Involve Your Child. Before you travel, talk to your child about the trip they will be taking. Show them photos and share how you will be getting there (car, plane, bus, train, etc.). Allowing them to visually see what you are explaining connects them to the plans as they unfold. Have them help you pack and, if they have a little backpack or suitcase, lay out some of their belongings and let them place them inside. Even better, make a packing list with pictures or words (toothbrush, hairbrush, socks, etc.) that they can follow. Involving them in the process helps them feel part of the plan; most of the time, this is what they are seeking to feel calm and at ease.
Bring Essentials. While vacations provide a welcome break from routine, children shouldn’t take a break from practicing basic skills like eye-hand coordination, logical thinking, and fine- and gross-motor skills. Respect this essential need by allowing your child to bring 2 – 3 items of their choosing. (You should also pack 1 or 2 alternatives in your bag in case your child’s selection of items loses its appeal.) Don’t overpack toys; instead, rely on your new surroundings to create fun and games.
Here are some travel-friendly ideas to help keep your children occupied:
- A busy board with Velcro, lacing and latches
- “I Spy” books
- Art notebook for doodling (with crayons, markers, stickers, dot markers, etc.)
- Lacing boards
- “Indestructibles” books
- A mystery bag filled with familiar objects. This is a wonderful way to encourage conversation and develop language by feeling and using reasoning to guess what may be inside. You can also use items found at your destination such as seashells, leaves, rocks…almost anything!
Encourage Independence. Remember – travel affords children opportunities to practice independence. Have your child help load the car, carry their own boarding pass, and open and close pockets when something needs to be taken out or put away.
By keeping them involved, bringing along key essentials, letting them practice independence, and being understanding when they become overstimulated or overtired, you can help ensure your next family vacation is among the best ever!
About Hala Kahiki
Designed for children 18 months – 6 years, Hala Kahiki is the first and only authentic Montessori school on Lāna’i. Under the guiding influence of specially trained teachers, children work with multi-sensorial materials to help them learn to think critically and become well-rounded global citizens. We would love to partner with you to give your children the best-possible early childhood education; please let us know how we can help you achieve your goals for your child.