As Christmas is closely approaching, the anguish of how we will remain sane might be kicking in!
School holidays can often involve various trips, whether it be travelling long distances, a short-day trip or a family outing. However, it can typically carry high expectations for connecting, making memories and family excitement. Even though, it is important to note that travelling with kids should pose no fear! Instead, with organisation and planning, you’re setting yourselves up for a fun-packed, easy-going trip (well, mostly!)
Below are our top 5 tips & tricks for travelling during this jolly season!
1. Involve your children in the planning process
I know what you may be thinking; you’ve got to be kidding, right?! Well, as a matter of fact, we very much mean it! The reason is, when children are involved throughout the planning process, they will have a greater understanding of where you’re going, the duration of the trip, and what activities you might be partaking in. This provides children with psychological safety, which is inherent for them to remain emotionally regulated during the lead-up, during and post-holiday trip. Fun ways of getting the kids involved in the planning process could be by getting them to make a holiday itinerary or weekly planner, writing down all necessary activities and pastimes whilst you’re away! This could also be an excellent way for your kids to create a memoir of their travels and work on so many fundamental OT skills whilst they’re away, including fine motor, handwriting, executive functioning, and so much more!
2. Take pencils and paper
If travelling by car, it’s great to have a few scraps of paper and pencils accessible with you. With this, the kids can be creative and draw images of what they’ve seen along the way; they can report how many specific-coloured cars they’ve seen along the way and even guess the state other travellers are from by looking at their number plates! This can also become a great memory book of their travels.
3. Limit screen time
It’s super important the kids are in tune and present during the holiday. Understandably, iPads, phones or watching movies in the car or whilst eating out can be an easy way to occupy the children, though, use this as the last resort if possible. Not only will this promote your child’s neurological development, but it will also positively impact their overall behaviour and emotional regulation. It’s important to remember that screen time disconnects the family, so car trips are the perfect place to start connecting, as daunting as it may be! There are various alternative, non-screen related games you can play with the kids for entertainment; some include I Spy, Simon Says and even a karaoke sing-off!
Audiobooks are a great alternative to watching DVD’s or playing video games as it stimulates the imaginations of our children whilst also allowing them to engage with the environment around them. Hop onto your app store and explore some of the great options available!
Don’t be afraid to bring sensory items along your trip if proven to be an effective regulation strategy for your child. Having sensory items or fidgets present are a great way of diverting any potential argument amongst siblings and will, in turn, allow your child to receive the sensory input they need, contributing to an overall happy kid!
Now with these few tricks up your sleeve for a cohesive and fun family trip, on behalf of the OTHC team, we wish you all a safe and fulfilling holiday season!