‘Tis the season for carrying my screaming six-year-old through an airport after she gets upset with TSA for telling her she does not have to take off her shoes (suggesting she isn’t a big girl). If you plan on traveling with tiny people during the holidays, in either a plane or a car, I empathize with you. Here are some ideas from around the internet for making that experience as pleasant for everyone as possible.
- I rely on Netflix on my phone and headphones for the kiddo, but if you want to have them do something more productive the public library has ebooks that you can check out for a kindle or kindle app on most smartphones. Freekidsbooks.org, magickeys.com/books.
- If your kids are too young to read, there are also podcasts like Tumble Science, The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd, Sesame Street Podcast, or the Thrilling Adventure Hour. Libraries often have books on cd that you can put on your iPod as well.
- Putting games like tic-tac-toe or mad libs inside plastic paper protectors and bringing along an erasable marker should keep kids busy for a while. We also bring a printout of a keyboard to have our kiddo practice her piano on the road. Dollar store goodies, given out once an hour, can also keep kids engaged in something new so that they do not get bored.
- Have kids keep a travel journal where they write down what they do each day. They can add postcards, recipes, photos, or other mementos from the trip and work on their book on the trip home.
- Get them a small camera. Vivitar and Discovery kids both make digital cameras for around $20. They are lighter and better than my kid constantly asking for my phone to take pictures “by herself.”
- Trunki makes carry-on bags that little kids can ride on like big wheels. Older kids can pull their own carry-on luggage. My kid has a cats in outer space bag with glitter that lights up. She won’t let me touch it. Airlines will also allow you to check car seats and strollers for free, which if you have a car seat cover, you could use for a little extra packing space.
- Consider putting an adult in the back seat with the kids. This helps kids feel included and can diffuse any fussing fits.