Most kids aren’t built for an endless exploration across Rome, back-to-back days at Disney or long-haul travel without falling to pieces at least once. And let’s face it, most adults can’t do that either without their own grown-up-sized temper tantrum. Although there’s no cure for travel meltdowns, you can dramatically reduce it, or even catch it before it starts by scheduling in some much-needed quiet.
Plan in Advance
Whether your child is prone to meltdowns and has sensory sensitivities or you’re just going to one of the most overcrowded places on earth like Disney, you need a plan of action to give your child some much-needed downtime on the road. Hop online and do some online sleuthing by visiting TripAdvisor or perusing the articles here at WhereverFamily to find the quiet spots. For example, Tom Sawyer Island at Disney World is relatively low profile with shady benches for a quiet spot. Wherever you’re going, you’re bound to find people who have been there and done it before with their own kids, so rely on their wisdom instead of reinventing the wheel.
Look for Unconventional Spaces
You’re not always going to find the picture-perfect stop to grab a little peace and quiet for your kids. You may need to get totally unconventional and sit down on the floor in the corner of the airport in a semi-empty gate. Or you may discover the only place that may be quiet enough for your little one is under the restaurant table. As long as you handle it calmly and let the staff know, “I’m sorry, my kid just needs a moment to collect their thoughts, I’ve got this under control and will address it in five minutes,” the people around you will give you space and admire your assertiveness.
Work in a Nature Stop
Getting back to nature can go a long way to recharging your kids’ minds and bodies and give them a reprieve from the crowds and business of a family-friendly vacation. Studies even show that spending time in nature can help reduce stress and improve your mental energy. Look for state parks near your road trip route, or skip the overcrowded resorts by the amusement parks and camp out instead. Giving your child that break and a moment to rebound and settle their nerves can do wonders for your vacation and turn it from a battle to a calm and relaxing family bonding experience.
Hop on Board
When all else fails, board a bus, train or boat to get some quiet for your child. Many amusement parks have their own trams, trolleys and trains to scoot you around the park and give your child some built-in rest time in the process. A slow ferry across the water can also help calm your little ones down and make them feel like they’re still part of the adventure. Even a bus ride across town and back or to your hotel for a quick dip before heading back out for an adventure can give your child a quick recharge without interrupting your family vacation plans.
Remember the point of a family vacation isn’t for it to go perfectly, it’s about being together and bonding. Instead of fixating on everything going wrong, focus on how to give your child a little more grace and comfort on the road and be patient. You’ll soon discover the more time you schedule for downtime and quiet for your kids, the more that perfect family vacation will begin to take shape.
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