When young explorers enter preschool age, this is the perfect time to travel together. Of course, any age is good to start... but as the child gets older, discovering becomes much more interesting and more aware (and we know this from our own experience). There may be doubts that the child will remember being on vacation, whether there is any sense in distant travel at such a young age, and whether it is really possible to explore whole place when you are away with your child. Well, each of us, both small and large, draws their own conclusions, experiences and, most importantly, memories from each such trip. Even when it seems to us that traveling with toddlers does not bring anything into their lives, we can be very surprised at how many things are happening in the heads of young explorers. You can read about traveling with a baby and how to prepare for it here.
A long journey by car or a plane flight, public transport, exploring new places and broadening horizons - all these contribute to a common adventure.
Traveling = discovering!
Traveling is associated with new experiences, learning about tastes, new people and their culture, but also with relaxation, sun and carefree. Children, just like adults, need a break. Every little person has their own duties from which they must rest and recharge themselves.
Let us remember that children do not learn only at home, kindergarten or school. When they are in motion, they can feel at ease, then they absorb knowledge without even realizing it. In addition, while on vacation, a child can easily use all his energy. Sightseeing, running on the beach, swimming, building sandcastles - all this will allow him to get physically tired, but to rest mentally.
As befits discoverers, children become observers on vacation. Parents play a big role in this discovery - let's not block the child's possibilities! Let them try new things, regional dishes and spices, let them sometimes make a decision that is not necessarily a wise one, so that the child can draw conclusions from it on his own. Trips are a great opportunity to discover new games, learn previously unknown sports disciplines, and learn about new professions. Many different activities will help the child find his passion - see what he enjoys and what he simply doesn't like. Children are watching everything that is going on around, and thus… many questions can arise! Then the parent's task is to explain or search for answers together.
Another important aspect is social development. Little explorers, in addition to researching and observing the area, study and observe people. New acquaintances, language barriers, playing with newly met children - all these make children more independent, bolder and practice their conversational skills. All this makes them more open to the world after their return and they function better in the kindergarten group or in the classroom.
Remember that the most beautiful thing about vacation is the excess of free time! The lack of urgent matters and phone calls to answer allows you to build bonds and closeness between the parent and the child. This is the time for activities, conversations and… cuddling ☺
How to prepare a child for travel?
The most important thing is to prepare your child for a trip in advance, familiarize him with various means of transport, show them how they look from the outside and inside, and how they work. Thanks to this, the journey will not be so scary and new for the child. You can read books on such topics or look at the photos from your previous journeys or from the Internet. It is worth going to the airport in advance (if you have such a possibility) to observe the planes taking off and landing.
What to keep your child busy when traveling?
To keep a child busy while driving or flying, the way we've checked is to take some novelty with you - a new toy or book, game or coloring book. Thanks to this, we will be able to divert his attention from the length of the route and avoid boredom. During our last trip, we noticed that our daughter (preschool age) is much more aware of what is happening and asks many questions related to the flight. So let's use this curiosity and tell the child about what will happen during the trip, about what the work of the cabin crew is about. It is worthwhile to watch the leaflet with your child, which presents information about the machine that we are flying. You may be surprised, but children are interested in where the engine or emergency doors are, what are the wings for, and why you need to fasten your seat belts ☺
We also recommend that you take wireless children's headphones for a trip so that they can listen to their favorite songs or watch a movie. Let's not be too strict with ourselves here - during a long journey, this type of entertainment will be a rescue for us, and it will not hurt.
Problem of clogging ears on the plane.
If you are flying, children may experience earache due to the sudden change in pressure during take-off and landing. A good way to minimize the likelihood of this happening is to give your child a drink or snack. It is best to have a snack that you do not get on a daily basis (e.g. a lollipop or jelly beans) - then traveling will be something interesting and pleasant for your child. When you chew, you swallow your saliva and the pain in your ears is reduced as the pressure equalizes.
How to dress a child for a trip?
Comfort is equally important when traveling! A soft cotton tracksuit, a comfortable T-shirt (preferably two - every parent knows how easily they get dirty ☺) and light shoes will work best. Shoes are best fastened with Velcro. You can quickly and conveniently take them off and put them on during breaks or going to the toilet. It is good to dress your child in layers - a short-sleeved T-shirt, a sweatshirt and jacket (if necessary) and cotton socks. It may be that you are leaving or landing from a cool place to a warm one, and then the ability to adjust your outfit will be especially useful.
In addition, it is worth having a blanket with you - air conditioning in the plane can cool you very much and a small pillow in case you feel like a nap.
Traveling with a baby has many advantages, although it may seem scary at first. However, the sooner we start treating the child as a "little adult", the more we will offer him. Let us remember that by creating situations in which questions and answers arise, we support its development and understanding of the world. It is not without reason that travel educates - and age plays no role here!