Traveling is at an all time high as the summer draws to a close and everyone tries to get in their last hurrahs before school starts. As a newly minted mother of 3/4 kids, I know what a challenge traveling can be with children and I’ve got the full gambit from newborn, 3 year old, 6 year old and 9 year old. It’s all about planning ahead. Here are some tips that have really saved my sanity.
- Yes there are plenty of packing lists you can download but none that is personalized to you. I’ve tried the pre-made lists but when sole relied upon, I’ve often missed something very important for my family. What I like to do is mentally go down my family’s and my own daily routine listing must have items as I go. I’ll start with waking up and brushing my teeth (toothbrush, toothpaste, even a particular mouth rinse if the case), to packing daily vitamins, that special wash cloth, lotion I must have, conditioner my daughter needs. For items that can’t be packed up right away like a toothbrush, I do a final run through the night before and day of packing as I finish using.
- Huge on my list is being medically prepared, especially if traveling abroad. I like to carry standards like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, diphenhydramine, allergy meds and the appropriate dispenser as well as a working thermometer. Once you’ve been stranded in a foreign country with a child carrying a high fever, you’ll never forget these key items. Also knowing where the nearest hospital is and checking with your insurance company on how to handle emergency situations.
- Some people may poo-poo me, but for road-trips, an in-car entertainment system can be a godsend. If your car isn’t equipped, buying two screens that can strap to the headrest is pretty cheap these days. iPads and Kindles are also equally awesome, but prepare your kids that wifi isn’t always available. Yes, I’ve tried to explain to my screaming 3 year old why Kindle Free time isn’t working when we’re not at home to no avail.
- Wipes, diaper wipes, antibacterial wipes are your friend. They multi-task, perfect on the go for washing hands, wiping down toilets, restaurant tables, spills, etc., I love them. So are garbage bags. I like to stuff a couple extra in my bag for garbage, especially great on road trips.
- The Bag-o-Fun! I allow each of my kids to have their own backpack for traveling. It’s packed only with fun things to entertain them, more specifically (3) things each, so its each to keep track of and less likely to lose. The night before departure I’ll often place a little surprise in each child’s bag. It may be a new (used) video game or some games from the $1 bin, a new book or travel toy. They are also encouraged to share with one another so it’s not just 4 total toys for them, but a choice of over 12 toys.
As a parent or caregiver, you are in charge of your child’s health. There are many over-the-counter (OTC) options available to help make your child feel better when he or she is sick, but be careful to only use a medicine that treats your child’s specific symptoms. OTCs are real medicines and should only be given to your child according to the label instructions. Never use cough, cold, or allergy medicines to sedate your child.