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February 10, 2011 / MrsH

Traveling with the Little Ones

I’m reminded of the importance of flexibility while traveling with kids. Keeping a toddler, preschooler, and school-age child engaged and happy is not always an easy feat. I’ll save the “how to fly” post for another day, maybe after we’ve successfully managed the flight back home. Today, I’m simply thankful for the degree of flexibility I have gained over the past few years as a parent. Not that I’m Ms. Flexible because I’m not, I can be the opposite, but I’m learning.  A few moments that highlighted this to me today, on our second full day on vacation where we’re staying with my parents, are these:

  • Some of our regular routines simply must be put on hold while we’re away.  Especially traveling across timezones.  When the baby wakes up at her normal time, even though it’s 4:30 here, I nurse her rather than making her wait.
  • Even though most of the foods we have access to while traveling are different than what we would regularly have (and not in a good exciting way, I’m talking about everything being more refined than we’re used to), we just do our best and let our kids have it too.  When it’s our turn to cook we’ll cook the way we do at home (with respect for some of their more specific wishes), and we’ve stocked up on real food snacks and a big tub of oats for breakfast.  Beyond that, we just do our best and focus more on the togetherness than the specific food intake.
  • Bedtimes.  It’s a known fact around here that if you can get granddad to read you your story you will be up past your bedtime.  Especially if you can ask him to show you pictures or tell you stories.  We do gently redirect some of that towards a more closely adhered-to bedtime schedule, but in the end decide that again, relationships are more important than the extra 10 minutes of sleep.  We do also try to get the kids to rest a bit more during their rest hours than they typically do at home though.  I think that overall, sleep is critical especially when we’re on vacation.

One thing that we do not do differently while vacationing with our kids is the expectation that they will find ways to engage in free play without being entertained by the grown-ups at all times.  We do really fun things with them, but we also plan for downtime for everyone.  Right now they have a big set of playmobil out on a side table.  It’s actually from when I was little and they love it.  Sweetpea is loving her Little People set as well as some of the puzzles.  Missie always enjoys the new books that are available here.  Oh and mom?  She’s been spending her spare time building a pretty swell K’nex roller coaster, under the auspices of helping Buddy with it.  What can I say?  We all need our indulgences.

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