Monday, November 11, 2013

Guest Post: Traveling with Children Who Require Routine


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For many of us, traveling with children is looming in the new future.  Kyndra shares her secrets to making the process easier on everyone involved. 

One of the hardest things about traveling with children is that while they may enjoy visiting relatives and seeing new things, travel always means that they are removed from the familiar and surrounded by an often baffling array of new stimulation.

Nowhere is this more the case than with children who depend on their familiar surroundings and routines to deal calmly with the world.

I have several such children and have slowly learned what I need to do ahead of time to make a trip as smooth as possible for those we visit and for ourselves. In a few short weeks we will be going to a family gathering on S's side of the family and I'm already planning, collecting hings to make the trip easier, and talking to the children to help them adjust to somewhat familiar surroundings and people with as little stress as possible.

Here are a few things I've learned over the years:

  • Realize that not everyone you visit will understand the difference between a child choosing to be naughty and a child whose stress level is too high and can't figure out how to cope. You may well hear remarks about your child being "ill-behaved" or "too sensitive". You know your child- if they need correction and consequences then you need to give those things, but be careful not to react to their stress levels in a harsh way, or more strictly than you would at home because you are feeling criticized. I have done this so many times and it is so very harmful.

  • Start praying now for your children individually, and especially remember to pray about their relationships with those you will be visiting. Ask the Lord to show you how to help them adjust to different surroundings, routines, and even different expectations and to particularly give you strength to be present for them.

  • Identify the things that are most likely to stress each child and decide ahead of time how you will handle signs of stress. For one of my children I use Silly Putty, while another needs extra exuberant play. Mouse has been a bit tricky for me to figure out how to stress relieve in previous years, so I'm very curious to see how her chew necklace will help (and yes I'll be taking a spare).

  • Talk up the trip. Even though we won't be leaving for another four weeks, I'm already starting to talk to the children about what we'll do and who we'll see. I'm also counting down the days with them and being sure to emphasize that while we are planning to do certain things, those plans may change.
    About the Author: Kyndra Steinmann blogs at Sticks, Stones and Chicken Bones on living in a house full of young children, unending questions and abundant grace. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

    You may also be interested to read: 17 Tips to Prepare Your Child for Holiday Gatherings

    What ideas can you add?

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