Holiday Travel Days are here. Why not ENJOY them… no matter what? Enjoy the Journey! Airport, airplane, car, hotel, train…any holiday moments are still family time. Holiday travel time is time spent together. After circling the globe with my family, I have found the best itineraries are simple, flexible, and often formed as we go to capture unique last minute opportunities. Here are my tips to enjoy the family time spent in airports:
Smile, laugh, giggle more.
Snap memorable photos (posed, silly, casual, sleepy, etc.) of each other on airplanes and in airports. Adults included. Make your spouse, significant other, relative or friend laugh – it’s good for everyone.
Arrive early enough at the airport to “be the calm” in your child’s travel day.
Extra time removes the stress from traffic, lines and interruptions. Smile often. Hug and appreciate little ones in this busy, unfamiliar, exciting, and often overstimulating and intimidating environment.
*Note even older children can unintentionally be overstimulating to infants and toddlers. All that energy sometimes ends up in a too tight squeeze or “in their face.” Help older kids direct their energy away from the infant. Be kind and understanding of this normal jazzed up feeling.
Acknowledge and enjoy a child’s perspective.
Hand the camera or smartphone to a child- ask them to take a photo of something interesting to them, something green, or small or funny. Or as we did, ask for a toddler selfie of a smile without teeth showing, a serious face, an eye and teeth. *Great activity when standing in line!
Provide a calm “sanctuary” for infants.
Drape a blanket over the stroller or use the baby carrier hood to minimize unfamiliar stimulation (sights, sounds, strangers). Comfort them with the soothing sound of your voice by holding them close in a carrier, or with soft touch.
Turn waiting and boring line time into a quiet fun time for the family.
Practice breathing slowly and deeply (have little kids show you their deepest breath with their eyes open and again when closed), have smile contests (no smile rule often results in giggles), play “I Spy” or count how many people walking by are wearing green or red.
Handle tantrums, crabbiness, and irritability (kids and adults) with love and understanding… don’t blame the lettuce.
If stuck at the airport, help those who work there enjoy their day.
And if things on travel day go wrong…
- Challenge yourself to react well (kids are learning conflict management directly from you)
- Be an example for the kids with an attitude of flexibility
- Recognize it’s just time, money or holiday plans – not health or life
- Put it in perspective (someday you may even laugh at it)
- View the situation from a kid’s perspective – live in and enjoy the moment
- Be creative, spontaneous, and make a new fun itinerary with the available options
- Recognize some of the best memories are simple times spent enjoying one’s surroundings
- Be on holiday no matter where you are- meet new people, try new food, observe life at the airport