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Jetting away with the family this Easter? Whatever you have planned, ensure your family holiday gets off to a stress-free start (and end) with these tips from wellbeing expert Akcelina and travel site momondo.co.uk on how to travel with babies and toddlers.
- Talk to your toddlers about the flight ahead of time. Read picture books and watch a film about airplanes to prepare them for the experience and inoculate against anxiety ahead of time. We recommend Usborne First Experiences: Going on a Plane, £4.99, amazon.com. Plan ahead lots of different activities to make the travel time more exciting. Get sticker books, cards, coloured paper to make nice presents, invisible marker pads for extra guessing games and their favourite toys.
- Talk about your destination and how much fun they are going to have there. Engage them and their imagination throughout the flight.
- In peak periods during the school holidays, some airports open a special family trail at security checkpoints. The family lane is reserved for families with children and helps the family to a relaxing start to the holiday. This can also help you gain more time in a relaxing mode; looking at shops in the airport or finding a good coffee shop.
- Speak in soothing tones as much as possible to your little ones as this will have a pacifying effect. Breathe slowly, deeply and gently to reduce your stress or anxiety levels and induce more calm in your children.
- If your baby gets distressed in flight practice a highly effective technique "The Hold": Take your baby into your arms and hold at a 45-degree angle. Next fold and secure their arms across their chest with your non-dominant hand supporting their chin. With your dominant hand grasp their bum and start rocking them gently up and down, left to right. This should calm your baby in 15 seconds.
- If your toddlers get scared, reassure them that everything is ok, comfort them with a soothing touch and then distract them with a puppet game, silly faces or watching their favourite song or film on their iPad.
- Each child is individual so apply the strategies that you know work for them. Above all remember that these trips are creating wonderful experiences and memories for your children.
- If you are travelling with a partner; make sure to make clear arrangements. If you need extra “me time”, make sure to communicate this to your partner and have clear arrangements about who is taking care of the kids when. It sounds a bit unsexy, but it can be a good idea to have a schedule for who’s allowed “me time” when, so you can stroll off without feeling guilty.
- It's a good idea to find a hotel with a central location, so you have a base for naps and siestas for the family. On momondo.co.uk you can search hotels by location, so you're sure to find a hotel with a location that accommodate the whole family's needs. When your partner and the kids are napping, you can take time out in the city and don’t have to spend time on transport – you can spend time doing the things you like the most.