Maybe you are planning to take your kids on a three-day vacation on a tropical island. Or perhaps you are taking your nieces and nephews for a weekend at Disneyland. Surely, it will be a blast. Surely, it will test your grit, patience, and endurance.
Yes, traveling with children is all fun and games until the children you have in tow start acting up or behaving in the strangest of ways. And there’s no telling when that’s going to happen. But if you are accompanied by kids between the ages of six and twelve, chances are those scenarios will occur one way or another.
And once they do, you’ll find yourself scratching your head in pure confusion and frustration. And you’ll be looking around you thinking other people are judging your incompetence as a parent or guardian.
It’s better to be ready. Here are ways to prevent what is often inevitable.
Set rules before heading out
Sit the children down. Tell them how lucky they are that they get to go on a vacation. Explain to them that not all kids get the same privileges as they do. Then segue to rule-setting.
No one is allowed to venture anywhere without adult supervision. Everyone should be in your line of sight at all times. If they see something interesting, tell them to inform you first so that the entire entourage can adjust whatever plans you already have and join in on the fun.
No talking to strangers on their own. It’s okay to mingle for as long as everyone’s involved. Lastly, just because it’s a vacation does not mean that they can have all the sweets they want. As trustworthy as dentists are, they are best seen no more than twice a year.
Teach kids what to do in case of emergencies
No matter how careful you are, sometimes things happen that are beyond your control. For example, one of your wards might wander off without you noticing. They might find themselves unable to find their way back to your group. They must be prepared for these possibilities.
Teach them who to call. If you’re in a museum, for instance, tell them to go to the concierge immediately. Inform the staff that they are lost. If you’re in a theme park, they could go to the nearest mascot, uniformed staff, or security they see. Remind them never to go with a stranger offering a helping hand, no matter how kind they seem.
Always have a supply of snacks and refreshments
Children’s appetites are difficult to anticipate. And once they get the munchies, some of them go berserk. You do not want to be in a car commuting to your next itinerary and one of your wards goes hungry, but there’s no food or refreshment at hand. That can easily ruin the mood of the day.
So be ready with crackers and sandwiches. Have bottled water or juice to keep those kids under your care hydrated. But do not feed them too much food between meals, especially when you have lunch or dinner booked.
Have extra clothes in your day bag
Children have a knack for getting messy. They walk out of the hotel looking like angels, but the sun hasn’t peaked yet, and they already look like war returnees, disheveled and weary-looking. That’s why you must never leave the hotel without spare clothes in your day bag.
Bring extra cash at all times
Children’s curiosity is piqued easily. You probably have multiple cards in your wallet, and that’s well and good. But what happens when a store refuses them? What happens when one of your wards decides they cannot live without a rabbit-shaped bubble maker, but the store selling it caters to cash transactions only?
That’s a recipe for a tantrum. Do not let it happen by having cash at hand. This is most practical when you’re touring a city on foot. There’ll be many street vendors, and they most likely don’t have a credit card reader.
When you travel with children, your goal is likely to give them happy memories to take all the way to adulthood. Memories that will keep them going when life gets a little less fun and a little more demanding. So do not be a tyrant. You can ensure that no frustrating incidents happen without acting like a dictator.
Follow our recommendations above. Come up with your own preventive strategies based on the personality of the children who will tag along on your travel. Most importantly, have fun!