PLAN! PLAN! PLAN! Make a list of everything you need to bring for your family trip in advance! “Externalizing” all you need to do into a list gets details out of your head, and can help you calmly cross off worrisome details that make you think you may have forgotten something.
Dress your kids in layers, and stick to clothes that are easy to put on like shoes without laces, pullovers, etc. Pack a few core clothing items for yourself that you can mix and match, and possibly wear more than once to travel lighter and leave you more room to pack essentials for the trip, which may add to your peace of mind.
For example, carry luggage that allow you to pack things for the kids (like snacks, surprise toys, and books) and that will capture your child’s attention when you are in the car or on a plane for long hours.
Make sure you also pack some of your favorite things like teabags of your favorite hot drink, healthy snacks, or scented essential oils to add to a bath (or even edible grade ones you can drop into bottled water for an exotic boost for your trip!). These things will make you feel good, and help your family’s travel efforts stay more enjoyable.
Take advantage of early boarding, obtain multiple seats, and keep kids away from the aisles.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to catch flights, gas up the car, or get situated on your train, which will also cut back on stress.
Plan for some “me” time to fuel yourself to keep everything going and everyone organized fro the rest of the day. Maybe get up a half hour early before the kids wake to take a relaxing bath, enjoy a guided meditation from YouTube, or do some stretching. Get yourself dressed before having to deal with the rest of the family if you can. If your kids are old enough, plan an activity that can occupy the children while you spend an hour or so with adults only before sitting down with the whole family for your holiday meal. Wherever you are going, or whatever your family does during this holiday season, this time is also for you! Taking care of yourself, as well as your children, is a must. If you’ re relaxed, generally your kids will benefit from your calm demeanor, and it more than likely will pass on to them.
If you’re staying home for the holidays, or only driving an hour away, some of these tips for enjoying this holiday season with small children can most certainly apply to your situation too, and make your whole family vacation more enjoyable!