{     Offering the Best Childhood Preparation for Social and Academic Success.     }

10 Tried and True Tips for Traveling with Little Ones!


By Kyle Pruett, M.D.
Contributing Writer and Goddard School Educational Advisory Board Member

Many of you may worry about traveling in the summer with your little ones. It can be stressful, but it can also be fun and leave you with wonderful memories.

We debated whether to take our preschoolers with us on a rare opportunity: a work trip to Hawaii. It meant laying waste to the beloved routines we counted on to manage two working schedules and the endless demands of raising two little, active people. We decided to go for it and jumped in feet first.

Within days, our daughter was floating alongside me on a small raft with a see-through window in a quiet lagoon and watching turtles scuttle along underneath her in the waist-deep water. Excitedly, she raised herself on her hands, shouted, “Turtles!” and promptly upset her balance. Years later, after many retellings, all she remembers is the allure of the swimming turtles that inspired her to pass her open water scuba certification and nothing of her unexpected swim. Thank you, limits of childhood memory. We wouldn’t trade those times and are glad we chose to bring our children along on the trip.

The U.S. Travel Association surveyed 2,500 adults and 1,000 youth about family memories and found that the most vivid memories of family life were often centered on vacations, even when the details were fuzzy. The best way to enjoy a trip is to be prepared, relax, and enjoy the missteps along the way. Here are ten tried and true tips that can help:

  1. Plan the activities with your older children and share the plans with the whole family. When children know what to expect, they are less stressed, just like their parents.
  2. Bring familiar items in an activity bag. Include games, crayons, paper, and books. Try not to rely too much on screen time.
  3. Open itineraries rule; children can’t take ten steps on the beach without finding something dead that they need to investigate. Patience: scientists are at work!
  4. Take bathroom breaks everywhere you stop, which you should do frequently (unless everyone is happy).
  5. Talk, talk, and talk some more. Explain what you are seeing to your children. Ask them questions. Share stories that relate to what you are seeing and doing.
  6. For plane travel, walk the aisles and terminals, and bring along training pants for longer flights.
  7. Keep healthy. Pack sunscreen, bug spray, After Bite, bandages and more.
  8. Don’t go hungry. Pack small, healthful snacks in case someone’s blood sugar gets low, or the children decide they are hungry in the middle of an activity.
  9. Don’t over-plan activities. You will find you can enjoy the day more and stay relaxed. Long days of sightseeing aren’t recommended for young children.
  10. Take pictures and make memory books to share and look at with your children before bedtime when you get home.