Traveling with a child? Don´t worry, be happy…

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Back in July, I took Luísa on a long journey to another state in Brazil to spend 10 days. We went 1.400 kilometers away from home. To get there and to come back we traveled for 12 + hours in each way.

It had been a while since we hadn´t gone on a long trip (almost a year), so I was a bit nervous thinking about how Luísa would handle it.

Well, it turned out that she loved it! And I loved to know that all our future trips will be like playing a game.

If you are postponing a trip (like I was) because you think you will have too much trouble on your way, go and plan everything now. Not only do kids have great fun on their way to the destination, but it´s a great opportunity to get them out of the routine, and learn new things.

Car, taxi, airplane, taxi, bus and another car drive

In our trip, we left home in the afternoon, took a car ride of two hours and stayed at a friend´s house until 3:30 am. Than we left for the airport and took a plane at 5 am. Our flight lasted two hours and we had to stay in another airport for another three and a half hours to take another flight of 40 minutes and then a taxi and then a bus on another two-hours ride! Uff, it was definitely long.

So we had to make this trip entertaining at all costs (otherwise it could turn into Luísa crying while I would try to make her behave).

If you are traveling at night, it can be good to put pajamas on your kid even on the airplane, to make it more cozy.

If your kid is too active (I mean normal) to sit still for a long time (which for them can be like 15 minutes), then you just have to be creative and follow the games the kid is into.

On airplanes, Luísa loves to interact with other people. She loves to run by the aisles as well (and I let her free until the flight attendant tells me to stop her). So I hope that nice people are sitting around us which usually happens, and these people give her some needed attention.

It´s really advisable that you bring a new toy (non electronic not to disturb the other passengers) to give to your child only when your imagination and resources to play are over (but even knowing this in advance can´t prevent you to forget this valuable item).

At the airport, I take her straight to the book store and we can stay there easily for over one or two hours checking out the kids´ section. Then we go for a snack and we go into the waiting room and look for other kids to play with. There are always other kids around.

Now that Luísa is 3 years old it´s so much easier to entertain her and to find playmates along the way, but if you are traveling with a toddler or a young baby, then you are practically the single playmate they have and it´s much more work, but do-able and worth it. I traveled with Luísa to Italy when shewas 1,5 years and we had to play along the way intensely.

It´s about making it all looks fun. Like once the airplane arrives, I start telling her how we need to look for our luggage and see who finds it first at the conveyor belt. And then I say that we need to find a taxi to go and get a big bus that is waiting just for us. Invite your kid to pay attention to all the steps of the way with these little games.

Making kids look after their toy or stuffed animal is a good idea and it also teaches them a little bit of responsibility (although at times Luísa just leaves hers behind and I can´t stop to teach the lesson at the time…).

On our way back there were more buses involved and a ferry boat. This was definitely something to mention a lot beforehand to make her excited. “We will take a boat!” She surely enjoyed it all. And then she appreciated arriving home to her dogs and toys, immediately talking about visiting her friend Vitor, who lives close to us.

Kids get so stimulated with trips. After you take one, you can´t think of not doing it again and again.

In a short period of time, they learn new things that would take them longer at home (see my “travelearning” post). Like waiting in line to get on the airplane or bus (patience), recognizing new boundaries (like being stopped from running into some forbidden area) and seeing people that simply look different (different ethnics).

How do you entertain your child when you are traveling? Have you been postponing a trip to avoid trouble?

Photo Credit

This article was originally posted on Tripping Mom by Marilia Di Cesare on November 4, 2010. Republished with authorization. Click here for all other posts.

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