We love to travel with our family. Or maybe we love the idea of going out into the world with our family. Getting into our car with the kids all buckled in, snacks or videos in hand. Or boarding a plane, calm and obedient, following all the directions. Sitting in their seat the entire time.
No one complains, no one touches or bothers each other.
Everyone has the right snack, watching the perfect movie everyone loves.
There is no complaining about the bed they get or the meals they eat.
Everyone is grateful and happy.
Let’s be honest. Does that even happen? Not with my family! Before we take a trip I think about it for weeks, write notes, buy things we need. I plan, plan, plan!
We’ve traveled with our oldest, on a plane twice before he was 5. I recently flew to New York from California with an 11-month-old. And we drive to places around us with the kids all the time. There are some things I learned that are important when going on a trip with your kids.
1.Plan Ahead –
I suggest knowing where you’re going. Make sure it’s kid-friendly and there are activities for your kids when you get there. If that’s all set, prepare your kids.
In my case, I need to let C know what is going on, where we are going, what we’ll be doing. He has anxiety and likes to know everything that is going on. Many times I have to lay things out for him by the hour.
Many ASD kids are this way. They like to have a schedule and routine.
Make sure you have their favorite snacks. Movies on a portable DVD player or iPad or Kindle, or even your phone. This will keep the peace between the kids and they will be too distracted to bother each other.
2. Be prepared –
By this I mean be prepared for things to go wrong. You may dream of a perfect vacation with all your family members. But that also may not be your reality right now.
There will be breakdowns and meltdowns.
There will be yelling and screaming.
There will be moments of unhappy, grouchy kids (and parents).
You hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
You need to be mentally prepared for this especially if you’re a planner.
But understand that life is not perfect. It’s messy and unpredictable and wonderful.
3. Be flexible –
This kind of goes with the one above. Be flexible in your schedule.
As much as our ASD kids like schedules and routines, sometimes things just don’t work out or they go a different way.
First YOU be okay with that.
Then be prepared to explain to your kid that you may need to do something different or go someplace else.
A suggestion I have for this is a compromise or “deal” as we call it. Present an alternate combined with a reward and most times you’ll be able to turn things around and avoid a meltdown.
4. Have fun –
So often we as parents are so worried about how our kids are doing, what to avoid, what to do to make sure everything is perfect. You may forget to just have fun. Remind yourself to just relax and watch your childs face. There is so much joy in just watching them.
5. Don’t worry –
Oh this one is personal. It is so hard not to worry.
So you know what? Worry. Just a little bit. Because if you worry you can plan better. So maybe it’s not so bad. But then forget about worry and just enjoy your trip and your kids.
And so my family is off on our trip to see the snow! Pics and update to come later.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”-Proverbs 16:3
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