With spring on the horizon, the start of the holiday season is looming – but traveling with kids can be as stressful as it is fun.
But now, a baby and parenting expert and writer has revealed her tips and tricks for surviving a long journey with little ones in tow.
Rachel FitzD, who is a former midwife and author of Your Baby Skin To Skin, told FEMAIL that taking a flight can often feel downright miserable – and instead suggested other means of transportation for the family.
She shared her expert tips for making traveling less traumatic and more enjoyable with children, including allowing children to pack their own suitcases and bags.
Meanwhile, she also advised carrying an essential ‘In case of accident’ bag.
Rachel FitzD, former midwife and author of Your Baby Skin To Skin, told FEMAIL her five tips for traveling with children (pictured, stock image)
1. TREAT THE TRIP LIKE A MILITARY OPERATION AND PLAN MANY PEE STOPS
Rachel advised, “Take a sheet from the military manual and think about the future.”
She explained that children have short attention spans and “small torsos,” so told parents to pack plenty of nutritious, easy-to-carry snacks.
Plus, light books, games, and puzzles are great to have on hand.
She suggested: ‘Separate them into a number of goody bags, which can be pulled out when boredom strikes or you fancy a break from the endless ‘are we almost there?’ quiz.
In the meantime, she suggested packing a separate “in case of an accident” bag with piles of clean pants, pants, wipes and diaper bags, which will come in very handy.
Even if you think it’s not necessary, Rachel encourages parents to always carry one of these bags.
She said: ‘Keep it handy at all times and never underestimate the number of pee stops needed when out with children.
“Me and my guy used to bet and the record was 12 pee stops in two and a half hours.
“Sometimes you just can’t make it to the bathroom and this ICOA bag will save the day.”
2. GIVE LOTS OF CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS
Parents are often very good at letting their children know what they don’t want them to do.
For example, “stop jumping on the seats”, “don’t pester me for chips”, etc.
The former midwife continued: ‘We’re not very good at telling them specifically what we’d like.
“We’re vague and suggestive and our kids have to try every trick in their book to see which is acceptable.”
Yet, it is possible to stop all these assumptions and say them directly; like “we’re traveling by train today”.
“You can chat, read and look out the window, but no feet on the seats or running down the aisles.”
Rachel explained, “Kids want clarity and certainty from you, so give it.”
3. LET THE KIDS PACK
The parenting expert suggested letting children make and carry their own backpacks on the trip.
She said: “Children love choosing their own clothes, teddies and games for travel and if they have their own child-sized backpack they will learn to think about what they really need. ”
However, that doesn’t mean you give them full control of their wardrobe, snacks, and games.
Of course, you’ll still have to take things they just can’t handle.
However, Rachel insisted, “You’d be surprised how well a few kids can carry each other.”
4. MAKE THE MOST OF THE WHEELS
“Babies are easier to carry in a sling or sling close to the body, leaving your hands free,” according to Rachel.
“But toddlers and young children can’t walk long at our pace, so beg, steal or borrow an easy-to-fold but sturdy stroller with a front and rear foot plate so that, when the little feet can’t take another step, they can all jump on it and take a turn.
“That’s how I carried my four through many busy train stations and airports – baby in a sling, toddler in the stroller and the other two ‘riding chariot’.
Popular celebrity personal trainer Joe Wicks recently shared snaps of his three kids at the airport on his Instagram.
The 37-year-old, known as The Body Coach, was seen pushing the Babyzen YoYo2 stroller with his six-month-old daughter strapped in, with enough room for his eldest daughter to sit alongside of her, while her son sat on the retractable board in the back.
There are many stroller options these days and most of them are versatile and compact.
5. MAKE FRIENDS WITH OTHER TRAVELERS
The parenting expert said: ‘You can see the fear in their eyes as you descend into the carriage dragging a screaming baby and a wild toddler – they look away, stare out the window and spill onto the only seats remaining. ‘
Rachel advises not to panic or get on your high horse, and instead encourages parents to stick to their guns.
She suggested saying, “Hello, I see there are free seats here and we’d love to join you.”
The former midwife explained: “Disarm and charm instead of fight and spite and you might just find yourself an ally who will entertain your tribe for a while while you indulge in a quick daydream about how easy everything is. it will be… in another 10 years.’