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offers tips on traveling with children during the holidays
The holidays can be an exciting time for children as they
anticipate gifts and visits to grandma’s, but young
children may be overwhelmed by all the activity, turning excitement
Dr. Shelley Jackson,
associate professor of family sciences at Texas Woman’s
University, says children benefit when they can stick to a
schedule. Even though a schedule is difficult to keep during
the holidays, she said, consistency will give children some
sense of security.
from their teacher or daycare provider about the activities
of the day — what time they have their snack, nap time
and play time — and stay as close to that schedule as
possible,” Dr. Jackson said
Parents also should
prepare for visits in advance. Dr. Jackson recommends talking
with those whom they’ll be visiting, discussing such
issues as safety (Is the home childproof?) and concerns about
valuable and breakable objects in the home. The hosts may
have their own holiday traditions, so children should be told
what to expect, she added.
As families gather
for the holidays, young children may be overwhelmed by seeing
so many relatives, some of whom they might meet for the first
time. Dr. Jackson recommends taking the child into another
room, giving him or her the opportunity to get away for a
while. However, she added, “At the first sign a child
is misbehaving, it’s time to leave.”
children during the holidays can be stressful for parents,
and children can pick up on that stress, Dr. Jackson said.
When flying, she recommends booking direct flights, if possible,
and bringing along toys that will hold the child’s interest.
While waiting for their flight, parents may take advantage
of family rooms found in many airports. These rooms feature
cribs and toys for children, she said.
Traveling by car
can be made less stressful by playing games, whether electronic
handheld games or guessing games played by the entire family.
Stopping for breaks also may help.
Dr. Jackson said
parents can avoid much of the stress the holiday season brings
by doing only those activities that are meaningful to them.
holidays start, discuss what’s important for you to
do,” she said. “Establish a tradition for your
immediate family. Your extended family may have trouble accepting
your decisions, but these are boundaries you need to set.”
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