Everyone needs a vacation, but have you ever felt that you need a vacation after your vacation? Traveling with little ones seems to make a vacation from your vacation even more needed.
Whichever mode of transportation you choose when making family trips, planning in advance can reduce stress for everyone. Your therapist can also help write a social story in preparation for upcoming travels.
Ideas For Keeping Toys Contained and Within Reach
- A metal cookie sheet is wonderful for magnets as well as using dry erase markers to draw.
- Using a metal lunch box to make a portable Lego kit is great. You can also use a lunch box to house cars, crayons, play doh, action figures and almost anything.
- Don’t forget using wet wipe containers. These are the best for crayons, markers, colored pencils.
- Have an old 3 ring binder collecting dust? Upcycle it to make a kids travel binder. Fill it with a 3 ring pencil case and your child’s favorite coloring and activity pages.
I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t want snacks handy while on a trip. Have you ever thought about making a “Snackle Box” from an inexpensive tackle box? The great part is, they have adjustable compartments to fit snacks of many sizes.
Tips for Car Travel
- Start with shorter trips to prep for the longer rides.
- Schedule breaks.
- Trial road trip yoga during those breaks.
- If your child needs extra sensory input, try a theraband loop to push and pull or a ball on the car floor for him/her to push on with feet or squeeze between the knees and hands.
- If there is enough room your child can shoot paper balls at a mini basketball hoop attached to the window. (Set the rules of expected play)
Tips for Air Travel
- The best advice: simplify your carryon bag. Don’t forget to check your specific airline, however most will allow 1 extra diaper bag per toddler at no charge.
- Domestic and International flights have different rules for a child who is sitting on your lap. Make sure that the child is added to your ticket.
- If your toddler can carry his/her own back pack, let them. Help them pack some of their most treasured items to ensure that they are not weighed down.
- Pack a few snacks and dum-dums or a pacifier for takeoff and landing.
- When traveling with a child with special needs, call TSA Cares ahead of time to have assist with the entire TSA process.
- Consider loading a movie or two on an IPad or tablet. Don’t forget the headphones.
- A theraband can be used for extra input in tight spaces and it doesn’t take up any room when packing.
No matter which mode of transportation you choose, have your child pack a few of his/her favorite toys to play with!
Dawn Hergenrother, COTA/L, Occupational Therapy