Posted by: coachingparents | November 26, 2007

Holiday Travel Tips with Children

As you are aware, the holiday season is the most traveled time of the year. 

Here are some tips to help you through this process with your small children and toddlers:

  • When you are traveling bring some food along that is juicy yet not messy– Grapes and apples celery and carrots.  Bring some food that is sustaining but not salty- cheese and crackers, bread and butter, PB and J sandwiches.
  • Entertainment is a necessity.  I do not believe it all needs, or even should be, electronic. 
  • You can bring old-fashioned games and activities, such as a coloring book, picture books, and some small stuffed animals.  Have times set up for each of these.  Anywhere from twenty minute shifts to hour shifts. 
  • Intersperse the electronics between these activities.  If your child uses different parts of the brain while sitting the sitting doesn’t seem so hard.
  • Do some silly singing, and especially those songs that have action parts.  You can play head, shoulders, knees and toes, and Little Bunny FooFoo.  You can play on of my family’s favorites- It is called energy.  You wiggle every part of your body while saying, singing, shouting, or whispering energy.  It is pure silliness.  And it is great for you and the kids!
  • The alphabet game.  Here is a fun variation.  My name is Albert and my wife is Ann.  We live in Alexandria, and we sell apples.  The next person uses words that start with “B”.  You can prompt even very young children to play this.  And another game/song is “Going on a picnic leaving right away, if it doesn’t rain we’ll stay all day.  Did you bring the ________?  (And a child says something)  Yes we brought the __________.  We’ stay all day.  Then you repeat again.  This can be played in a variety of ways.  First is by just putting in any thing for the blanks.  The second is to add the new item and repeat all the previous items.  And the third is in alphabetical order.
  • Good old standby’s like Old MacDonald had a farm. There was a Farmer had a Dog and Bingo was his name O.   I hope these will jar your memory of the fun songs you sang as a kid.  Because guess what?  With all the technology and electronics these songs and finger plays will still be fun, stimulating, and probably be the best part of your trip.
  • If you are traveling through bedtime, stop at about the real time put on your kids pajamas, brush their teeth and have them go potty.  Then in the car do the best you can to do your regular bedtime routine- read them a story, sing.  Then say it is time to sleep.  This will give your kids the security and regularity of sleeping.  Just keep gently reminding them to sleep.  And when they learn the phrase, “I can’t sleep in the car.”  Reply with: “It doesn’t really matter if you sleep.  You just have to pretend to be asleep so I don’t know you are awake.”  And remind them that falling asleep is not for you, but so that they will have fun during the holidays.  Also you can tell them how much faster the car ride is if they fall asleep. 

I know the phone is really tempting to use when driving, so do be careful, follow the law, and tell people that you are driving.  Tell them you may stop talking and listening if the traffic is difficult.

Also, when you are putting your kids to sleep do not talk in the phone or with other people in the car.  Give your kids about twenty minutes to fall asleep. You may want to put on sleepy music or song to your children.

These are tried and true methods to help the travel be smoother and more enjoyable.  As you travel think of the travel as part of the fun.  Think of the car ride as a special time.  Not a trapped in the car with nothing to do time.  If you get your head around the idea that this can and will be fun, then you will give this to your family.  And for goodness sakes, don’t let those negative vibes from others sway your opinion or actions!  Let your car rides be so enjoyable that you and your kids look forward to then.  I know this can be done as I do it myself and I have lots of friends and relatives who love car rides as well.

Have a safe drive and a Happy Holidays.

About the Author:
Grace E. Mauzy, MA works with stressed parents having difficulty comfortably cope with parenting. Parents learn positive intervention utilizing strategies and tactics to develop high self-esteem in children. Grace is the founder of GEM Parenting – an online community dedicated to parenting with passion, purpose, and integrity.    In the FREE Audio Parenting Series you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.



  1. An interesting post today

  2. Thank you and welcome to ACPI!

  3. Sound like good tips to me. I worked as an elementary school counselor for 23 years so I’m less familiar with age five and under.

  4. Paul–Welcome to ACPI. Being an elementary school counselor for 23 years gave you the opportunity to interact with many young lives.

  5. It’s really good tips on holiday travel with the children.

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