Going on a family holiday this summer? Here’s some top tips to make travelling with your children a walk in the park…
Whether you follow in the footsteps of the 59 million Brits who enjoyed a staycation last year, or if you are planning to take the family overseas, let’s face it, travelling with children – potentially during the heat – is no picnic! And while holidays often represent plenty of treat times, food wise, a holiday free-for-all can sometimes result in disastrous consequences.
Fruit Bowl has teamed up with children’s travel specialist and ‘Lunch Box Doctor’ founder, Jenny Tschiesche, to advise parents on how to make travelling with their little ones a breeze…
Long car journeys with children…
No surprise that the majority of children get bored on long journeys. However, feeding boredom with sugar is not the answer as you’ll end up with fluctuations in their energy levels that may be hard to cope with from the front seat! Rather than offering sugar-laden snacks which as well as potentially causing unruly behaviour is also detrimental in terms of inducing obesity and impacting on dental health, try to balance their energy levels with healthier snacks. Chopped up vegetables such as carrot sticks and cucumber sticks with a dip would be suitable. For younger children avoid any choking hazards by simply stopping regularly and allowing them to stretch out (note, car seats can play havoc on the digestive system for babies). When journeying in the car or by air make up personalised travel bags for each child with a variety of snacks and activities to avoid boredom setting in. You can even plan ahead and download some audio books or tune into the brilliant TED talks.
Flying with children…
A good quality, insulated water bottle for all is imperative as dehydration in an air-conditioned or even a stuffy car is often an issue on long car journeys. Air travel means low humidity and that can also lead to dehydration. It’s tough enough travelling by air with children so ensure they’re hydrated. Steer clear of juice unless you’re diluting it and use water to wet the nostrils and mouths of babies. At altitude, and especially as you come into land expansion in the middle ear and sinuses can cause discomfort and even pain. Older children could chew on xylitol-based chewing gum whilst babies and toddlers could suck on a bottle or sippy cup to ease this discomfort.
Traveling to different time zones with children…
Travelling to different time zones is hard for children who are used to their specific home routine. In the simplest terms if you want your child to stay awake for longer then opt for a lower carbohydrate and higher protein meal. If you’re wanting to encourage sleep, then a higher carbohydrate meal is better.
Start a travel star chart
Create a travel star chart to reward good behaviour at key stages of your journey. For example, your child gets a star every time they behave well at a designated point in your travels or completes an important task such as handing their passport to the check-in staff. Once they attain five stars they earn themselves a special treat! If your child is old enough to understand, then loudly praise how well they are doing to your partner or travel companion – studies suggest that kids, just like grown-ups, like to hear someone praising them to somebody else.
If you’re travelling to somewhere that the water is known to be unsafe then boil, filter or sterilise your own, or buy bottled water. Sterilising tablets can be purchased before you travel. It’s important that children don’t swallow any water, even when cleaning their teeth.
Constipation is often an issue when travelling. This can be due to dehydration but also from eating different foods or drinking different water from your norm. Ensuring your child is hydrated is obviously important but so is having some natural remedies for constipation. Prune juice or prune puree can be really helpful in moving things along as can ground flaxseeds or flax oil. Prune juice can be diluted with water which means you’re hydrating at the same time. Flaxseeds can be added to cereals or yogurt. The oil can just be swallowed as is or transported in capsule form. Buy these before you travel.
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Keep it simple
The biggest mistake parents make, whilst on holiday, is that they tend to squeeze in way too much ‘doing’ with their children and not enough simply ‘being’. If you try to pack in too many activities or visits out, the result will be a grumpy, overtired child who may not settle well at bedtime.