Are you traveling this summer? Do you have a kiddo who loves their routines but you’re changing it up to travel? Well this blog post is for you! Below you will find several strategies, tips, and tricks for you and your child so you can all remain regulated, happy, and have fun while traveling. No matter what kind of travel you are planning for; a day trip to the lake, a long flight to a theme park, or a car ride to visit relatives, there are a few things that will be helpful for everyone.
#1: Foreshadowing Fun
As adults, we have so much to think about when planning a special event and it can be easy to forget that our kids have their own need and desire to plan and prepare in some way too! Social stories and writing down the schedule are great ways to include your child in the planning process. Offer choices within reason and make sure they know what to expect, especially when there is going to be a big change outside of their normal routines. It can be beneficial to look up the hotels’ website or where you are staying to show pictures of the place in addition to any other attractions you will be visiting beforehand. A few tools that may be helpful:
- ChoiceWorks App
- Joon App
- Bamba Airport App
#2: Body Breaks
It can be difficult for anyone to sit through a flight or a car ride for a chunk of time. Being creative with space and time on your trip can also be a huge challenge. When possible, try to build in extra time to your travel plans to allow for longer breaks out of the car. Playground Buddy is a free app for your phone that allows you to search for playgrounds along your route! Finding ways to get in a lot of movement and then some heavy work (think animal walks, pushing a stroller, climbing a slide) during your pit stops will help promote that “just right” level of regulation to take on the next leg of the trip!
Airplane rides require an extra level of creativity when it comes to movement breaks. Try out some seated yoga poses together with Tinybeans Yoga. It may also be a good idea to take advantage of that “delayed flight” wait time by doing some animal walks, frog jumps, or jumping jacks before boarding your flight.
#3: Brain Breaks
Changes in routine can be stressful for everyone involved. Allow for time to have a brain break and engage in fun activities or games. Here is a list of a few fun and engaging activities/games that can be used during travel, whether that be in a car, train, or airplane.
- 20 questions, Ispy, The License Plate Game
- Card games; Spot it, Uno, Go Fish etc., IQ twist (for older kids), Mazes, Word Searches
- Mad libs, Pictonary, Art for Kids Hub (will need internet for this)
Whether you’re traveling near or far, hopefully these few tips will help everyone stay regulated and have fun on the trip. One of the most important things to remember is that our kids are watching us navigate regulation too, so make sure you are using these strategies for yourself and practicing co-regulation together as a family!