Family Vacation

February 25, 2013

When you think of family vacation, do you envision laughter and songs or terror on wheels? A spring break trip can be exciting for the family. And with adequate preparation by the parent, the trip can be peaceful for all.

Acclimating kids to the new surroundings is an important and sometimes forgotten step to travel plans.

Take it from Dr. Maxwell Self, Mercy Clinic Family Medicine physician, who along with his wife Karen, have raised 10 children. Here are the Self's seven tips for a highly successful trip:

  • If you are traveling with kids, take time to make a list and check it twice. The unexpected is sure to happen sooner or later. And finding the items you need while driving late at night puts undue stress on everyone
  • Remember extra diapers, wipes, milk or formula, medicines, hand sanitizer/sanitizing wipes, a stroller and clothes.  A favorite blanket, stuffed animal or toy can be a simple comfort in unfamiliar surroundings
  • While in route, solicit the older kids to keep the younger ones occupied. Pack a variety of toys to entertain a child while in the car seat. These can be a real lifesaver for parent’s sanity and ears alike
  • Consider limiting the use of electronic games at home, buallow these on trips. This tactic helps make electronic games ‘special’ and more enticing
  • Stop at fast food restaurants with "play places."  Letting children out of a confined area for awhile is a good move
  • If the home or location you are visiting is not childproof,consider these items essential: a port-a-crib, electrical outlet covers, a security gate if staircases are accessible, and portable high chair so baby can be part of the mealtime festivities
  • Be realistic about the demands expected of children while traveling. They are out of their element and routine.  Remember, even as adults, we too can get a little crabby when things don’t go their way

“The pressure for perfection during the trip can be like a ticking time bomb,” Self adds. "Vacations are meant to be filled with fond memories and cherished time with loved ones.  By planning ahead, you’re more likely to see smiles in snapshots instead of tears."

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