Prepare, Plan & Pack may be three P’s to help you beat holiday travel stress with your kids

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Road trip. (Credit: Getty Images)

COLORADO SPRINGS– Prepare, Plan and Pack are three P’s childhood education expert with LingoKids Suzanne Barchers, Ph.D., recommends to beat the holiday travel stress.

Families across Colorado are already packing up to travel to see family and friends both in the state and across the country this holiday season. That means long plane flights, road trips or potentially both. Traveling with children, be it by train, plane or car adds stress to both parents and kids alike.

This year, Barchers recommends that you allow your little ones to shoulder some of the travel preparations themselves, making it a learning experience that’s also fun and full of excitement of what comes next on the journey–whatever that looks like for your trip.

“Teach your child how to pull their own suitcase or wear their own backpack, so that they take responsibility for their own belongings,” Barchers said. “Particularly for children who are preschool age, talk to them about how to prepare for a trip. Some kids may not remember traveling long distances because of COVID, so they may need reminding.”

She said that every time she prepares for a trip with her grandchildren, she allows them to pick out their own outfits, with some parental guidance.

“Let your child be involved in the packing of the clothes and emphasize comfort and convenience. Put all the clothes into a gallon sized zip lock bag. There’s nothing worse than a meltdown,” Barchers said.

She recommends offering the child three separate outfit choices, including something that you know they either won’t like or something that you’re okay with them wearing that you know they’ll really like.

“I always give them choices I know I can tolerate,” she said. “If they decide what they’re going to pack, they may pick something you can’t tolerate. So, set the parameters.”

Besides teaching your child how to pack, Barchers also recommends adding a few extra surprises in your suitcase to cut down on boredom.

“Try to bring new things with you such as wipe-off boards with erase markers, coloring activities and other options,” Barchers said.

She recommends checking out Moms Mini Van, an online resource that offers tips, tricks and activities to help kids stay both engaged in the trip and off of your nerves.

Barchers said that on her trips with her grandchildren, she encourages them to keep a travel journal. Journaling can help a little one remember the trip and later will be something they have to look at and enjoy throughout the childhood and later to reminisce with as an adult.

“Always take a journal with you when you travel, and kids can be involved in that just by drawing pictures of things that they say or that they did or didn’t like,” Barchers said. “It can also serve as a record of your experiences. You think you’ll remember but suddenly you’ll forget.”

To learn more about Barchers and LingoKids, click here.

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