Your vacation is meant to be a relaxing time for you and your family, but sometimes the packing and act of traveling can be more stressful than you and the kids ever imagined. But if you prepare yourself and your children—both physically and mentally—things may seem a bit less daunting once go time rolls around.
- First things first, don’t announce your travel plans to strangers or post them to social media sites—and advise your kids to follow suit. If you must post pictures, do so once you return from your trip.
- Shop ahead of time for necessities that you and your family may need along the way, whether it’s clothing, toys, towels, toiletries, etc. Don’t wait until the day you’re leaving; you never know when you may have to visit multiple stores for some of your much-needed items. This is especially crucial when dealing with prescriptions or other items that may not be possible to pick up while out of town.
- When traveling without your kids, ensure appropriate paperwork—like a notarized authorization to treat at doctor’s office or hospital and up-to-date wills for you and your spouse—is in order and available to the children’s caretaker. Provide emergency numbers, as well as directions to your kids’ doctor’s office and to the nearest hospital. Make a detailed list of any allergies or specific safety precautions the caretaker should know about ahead of time.
- Note that your children may feel excluded or even worried if you travel without them, so consider taking along a laptop or arranging for computer access. No matter the age, kids are bound to miss their parents during this time, so a simple e-mail or “face to face” Skype time may help alleviate a meltdown or two. Don’t forget that a good old-fashioned phone call and postcard are sure to put a smile on their faces, as well.
- Make a list of everything you need to pack for each member of the family, from clothing and shoes to toiletries to medications. Check the weather for your destination and include any climate-related necessities.
- No matter your mode of transportation, keep handy a “kid kit,” complete with toys, travel games, snacks, etc. Jot down a list of fun road trip games like The Alphabet Game, I Spy, 20 Questions, etc., to pull out whenever you hear the inevitable, “I’m bored,” or “Are we there yet?” If you typically enforce a strict limit to TV time at home, consider making an exception. A portable DVD player is a perfect tool for keeping their attention for longer spans of time, not to mention that it’s always a special treat to watch movies in the car or on a plane. Stock up on medicines that treat motion sickness and be sure your first aid kit is easily accessible.
- Be prepared for some whining, temper tantrums and meltdowns from your kids. Vacations take them out of their usual routines, which can make them feel out of sorts. If possible, plan for normal nap and bedtimes to help ensure a sunnier disposition that will keep everyone happy and your vacation running smoothly.
Don’t let unpreparedness take the fun out of your vacation. With just a bit of foresight and planning, you can expect a smooth sailing trip with memories to last you a lifetime.
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About Pediatrics of Florence
We believe that children are more than just “little adults.” They have unique personalities, challenges, and life circumstances and we have made every effort to make our offices and care as “kid friendly” as possible. We have an aquatic theme in the waiting rooms (separated for sick and well children) as well as themed examination rooms. All of our physicians are Board Certified Pediatricians and members of the American Academy of Pediatrics and our nurse practitioners are all licensed Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and are available to see both well and sick children.
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