Parenting: Travelling with preschoolers
January 27, 2011 (WPVI) -- Last week I went to Turks and Caicos with my family. I was surprised just how easy it was and fun it was to travel with Luke and Emma. They are at an age in which they love to explore and discover new things. But, at the same time, they feel most secure with a predictable routine. Finding the balance of both is what can make a trip really successful.
At 3 and 5 years old, Luke and Emma want to make as many of their own decisions as possible. So, I let them help me choose which outfits to bring on vacation.
Next year I'll pack much lighter, since Luke insisted on wearing the same shorts and shirt every night (thank goodness for the Tide pen and Woolite I packed!)
I let them pick out what books and toys to take in their backpacks but explained that they would have to carry them, so don't put in too much. Luke wanted to bring his large, stuffed Cobra toy. I told him, "If it fits, you can bring it." It was too big and Luke decided, on his own without any fanfare, not to bring his Cobra. But if I told him, right of the bat, he couldn't bring it, we may have been dealing with drama.
I was sure to pack lunches for everyone and bring plenty of snacks so we didn't have hungry kids on the plane. I packed a couple new coloring books and markers in case of extreme boredom. It was a three hour flight. Emma slept for two hours, Greg, Luke and I for one. Nice.
At the resort, we decided sometimes it was best to divide and conquer. Since Luke loved the water park, each afternoon Greg took Luke on the waterslides while I accompanied our little swimmer, Emma, to the pool. But each morning we all went to the beach to play together. Since Emma is used to taking an early afternoon nap, we packed our trusty double baby jogger. So each afternoon, Luke got a little downtime sitting in the baby jogger looking at the surroundings, Emma got her much-needed nap in the baby jogger, and Greg and I got a little exercise running around the resort, pushing the baby jogger. After a day of play in the sunshine, all of us were usually asleep by 8:30 (Luke and Emma's normal bedtime.)
I've found most travelling meltdowns occurs when kids are either tired or hungry. I tried to make sure Luke and Emma ate plenty at every meal, even if, in Emma's case, it was just rice or French fries. While Luke was more adventurous, trying and liking swordfish and conch, Emma wouldn't taste anything she didn't recognize. So I packed plenty of snacks for the beach or poolside that I knew Emma enjoyed. We did our best to follow our regular bedtimes and naptimes. The only tantrum we experienced was the morning we all slept in later than usual. By the time we were heading to breakfast, Luke was pitching a fit. Once he had a waffle in his mouth, he was fine. Lesson learned: don't wait too long for breakfast!
One thing I didn't expect from our vacation was the incredible volume of photos we took: nearly 500.
I'm still looking through them... and enjoying every moment.
Happy parenting! Cecily
cecily tynan parenting reports, holidays, parenting, cecily tynan
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