Making Life on the Road
Easier on Parents
An entire website/ blog could be dedicated to this - these are the cliff notes to the cliff notes.
There are certain things you DO and DON'T DO,
Things you THINK you CAN'T DO - but really CAN when traveling with kids.
I will touch on this more later but let me start from where we were two years ago.
Lets chat about that fun one we all deal with
We thought in the beginning stages of hearing about travel that bringing our children in particular would be, well to put it best... a freaking nightmare. Hell we could barely get through a short trip Target without some sort of event. From arguing over who gets to choose the movie in the car on the 10 minute ride over, badgering me about what kind of toy they wanted, and truly believing they would be actually picking out a toy. Then there was the running off after multiple 'stay with me' moments. Every once in a while we would lose one for a few minutes only to find the escapy hiding behind the paper towels in the grocery section. #truestory There are countless stories as these 20 years of them if factoring in the oldest two in the family. You can imagine the thought of traveling with these monsters was almost laughable. Or was it just what the needed?
Do you fear taking your kids out in public for extended periods of time?
Possibly you have a child with traits from the story above, or enough stress in your own life which trickles down to a child. This per say child who then acts out subconsciously dealing with the stress in a weird coping mechanism they are unaware of. We often like to call he or she a "disobedient child". What we really should name the offense is "The kid that is handling life the only way he knows how". The awesome news is this is totally fixable! Yes your crazy kids can learn the skill set to travel with out being strangled by you. Just to be clear, you will be putting in as much work on the subject as the child. Give yourself a year of practice around the home seeing the long term goal , especially when out in public. With consistency and a positive attitude, you will be surprised just how far they come staying with you and following a plan. You also will be feeling like a superstar parent replacing negative reactions with a positive, re-directive approach parenting style. Sure it won't always be easy but staying calm and keeping your emotions in check will continually allow YOU not them calling the shots. Parent 1 - Kid 0 . I am continually reminding myself in tense moments the advice of parent guru, Hal Runkelto, to "Calm down, Grow Yourself Up." We parents have more work to do on our reactions than getting our kids compliance. When the correct tone is set, they tend to self correct and eventually parent themselves. Bonus: everyone wins. Crazy concept but after countless parenting tactics and books this is the shizzzz...
Check out his amazing book here ... seriously, life changing, game changer, rock your world concept changing the way to raise responsible little people.
Are you insinuating their bad behavior is MY fault?
Don't take the statements above as blame on the parent. Some kids are more challenging depending on capabilities and coping skills. Others are just not shown a different way to act which will serve them better. It is not about who is at fault here. We are all just doing the best we can really. No one sets out intentionally to have a stressful mediocre life. But many have just that. Why?
Out of doing what they have always done, or their parents have done.
It is a content life for many I assume by looking around, but in my 40's I found myself craving something more. Something different, something bigger than what even my husband found possible. Years ago I heard the phrase - "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result". Misattributed to Einstein Whoever said it, the concept stuck to me like glue. Not only was it a wake up call but hearing one would need to drastically do something different to get different results in life, meant that there was a solution. So we began exploring what we could change to enhance our experience in life. Change is more difficult than you imagine - but all to rewarding to avoid it. Stir things up, make things happen, then reap the rewards of a full and colorful adventure that brings people together. At least that is what happened for us and I can truthfully say are kids are happier people than before. The bonus for parents ; happy children are easier to raise and to obey than stressed out unhappy kids. I will list my favorite parenting audio books below. Devour them if you are in troubled waters in parenting. #worthit
In the mean time now what?
If your child is currently facing difficulty listening to rules that keep them safe start working on routines that foster a togetherness in tackling it. There is nothing more frustrating to a parent and a child than one being the boss and the other being told what to do every moment they are together. It will defuse a connection every time. Get in a good place in your head before addressing anything this is critical because when your kid throws an age appropriate fit in the process of change, that is expected. When you are frustrated it is not working as expected, there is no age appropriate fit for an adult. Grow yourself up. I know that sounds harsh but it is true. I threw many parent fits in my young years of adulting, raising the first set. IT.DOESN'T.WORK . You loose all credibility with your child and it is difficult to be taken serious. Start picking up routines that give a sense of togetherness, working on a goal as a team. Beyond any advice I can say helped the most it would be my positive outlook. After forming a consistency of relaxing about life hiccups and talking about them in a positive manner rather than freaking out - life got much more enjoyable. The kids are now chill and can rock a 45 minute line through customs without having a melt down. It's mostly on us parents to set the tone and be flexible. There are still rough day but they are easy to determine where the problem stemmed from, we assess, and adjust.
Below are a few basic but important questions we should ask ourselves . Often times it is the simplest things we miss which derails our plan for a successful adventure with little ones. My husband and I use this checklist of potential triggers which need to be resolved before tackling a problem of the child in question. The negative behavior is still addressed , it just may be after handling the root of the issue. This also can include teens and adults as crazy as that sounds. Hey, when you are with someone 24/7 traveling, we all need a little grace.
BASICS WHEN HANDLING A BEHAVIOR ISSUE:
-Prepared to handle your own emotions appropriately with your child?
-Able to detach emotionally (not having your buttons pushed) and guide them to find a solution rather than control them?
Questions to consider before addressing the concern :
Has your child...
-had enough sleep?
take it easy the rest of the day, give them space to make mistakes without addressing it too much. It is more difficult to make good decisions sleep deprived. Give them so grace until tomorrow.
-eaten in the past few hours?
hangry...it's a real thing. Feed that child something to level their blood sugar, anything really.
-drank enough water ?
mild dehydration can cause cognitive impairment (aka. being annoying or not thinking through things). Kids don't have the thirst mechanisms so you will likely hear, "I'm not thirsty". We make our kids drink water, they think it's annoying, I don't particularly care. ;) Here is a good rule of thumb
For total water intake, experts recommend that kids get the majority from drinking water, but also a small amount from food. Kids 1 to 3 years old need roughly four cups of drinking water daily. For kids 4 to 8, five cups is recommended a day. Once kids reach 9, the requirements differ by sex. For boys 9 to 13, eight cups of water is recommended daily, while girls need about seven cups.
-had your attention enough to feel important?
**This DOES NOT mean that the child is the center of your world, do them a favor and don't put that much pressure on them. They should be a huge part of your world, not "your world", that is a unhealthy way to life for all participants. Create balance between living your own life and showing interest in theirs.
have you ever been in a fight with your significant other and once they show you any form of love or compassion such as a hug it all seems to be workable? Same with kids. Lets remember they are little adults. They feel WAY more than us and we are their world. Treat them with respect, show the love, tell them you are sorry for your mistakes. A simple few minutes of undevided attention can go a LONG way for good behavior. Life should not revolve around them, but they should also know they are an important part of yours by the manner in which you show them love in listening whats on their little minds as irrelevant as it can be sometimes. If you listen long enough you may find they have some petty amazing minds.
Finding things that help
Our daughter has a hard time getting to sleep many times on her own. These are a natural solution to times we need to stay on schedule. She is out in about 20 min after taking these and rests well. It has been SO helpful - a game changer for her rest. They are tasty (she loves the grape), super small chewable tablets. The also serve as a Jet Lag fighter for The whole family when crossing the globe to a new times zone and want to hit the grown running.
I have a lot of favorite protein bars but these have stuck with us because if the size and no melt feature. "The Kid Clif Bars in Peanut Butter" are our personal go to for holding a kid over.. Starving on the plane? Cliff bar. Didn't like lunch and now in transit? Clif bar.
Whatever bars are you families favorites stay loaded with snacks in a backpack ALWAYS with kids on the road.Last time I forgot I ended up paying $14 for a bagel at LAX airport to hold them over. That amount of cash could have gotten me a lot of protein bars. #beprepared
Beach / Pool Necessities
I can not say enough about these sandals for boys. THE BEST! They oddly hold up like no ones business. These flip flops, jangles, thongs, whatever your name is for them lasted a 10 month trip through many countries with harsh conditions. They also came home in tack! Crazy comfortable too.
Kids love them.
One top purchase was the versatile Microfiber Beach towel. LOVED THIS. We used them often and always had one with us in our day pack. They can be used as a sitting spot in the grass for lunch on the go, a blanket for public transport, and of course for the beach, pool or shower. Easily wash them and they dry fabulous while hanging anywhere. Solid purchase.
great googles for a steal of a price.
LETS CHAT ABOUT SAFTY FOR A SEC.
I am super laid back about some scare tactic and ideas while traveling although this IS actually a valid concern. Carbon monoxide poisoning from homes with Gas. Especially for those us of us who stay in Airbnbs or rentals regularly.
It can be tragic and you would never know until it was too late. Sadly a close friend of mine lost her adult child to these fumes in an apartment rental in the US. It can happen anywhere and everywhere there is gas. This one has fabulous reviews.
Have you found a must have travel item you want to share?
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