Taking a summer vacation with family can be very fun and relaxing, but also overwhelming for some children, especially those that have difficulty with transitions or changes in their daily routine. Listed below are some basic tips when traveling with children:
Be prepared. Bring along familiar objects, toys, snacks, and games. Having familiar objects from home can help some children feel more comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings. Bringing headphones for children who have difficulty with loud noises is also helpful if you will be somewhere that might be too loud (i.e., fireworks or some amusement park rides).
Watch movies or videos if possible of places that will be visited during your vacation to help familiarize your child. For example, the Disneyland website has videos of some rides and many pictures of attractions at the parks. Showing your child photos of family members that you might visit can also be helpful.
Talk about your trip and make social stories of some situations that might be difficult for your child (i.e., flying on a plane or taking a train ride). Making a social story can be very beneficial in helping with overall preparation and help with problem-solving during a specific difficult situation. Use your child’s name in the social story so it is relatable. Discuss where and what you are going to do on your trip.
Try and stay on nap/bed and meal-time routines as close as possible. Understanding that it is a vacation, it is often difficult to maintain exact routines that are followed at home. However, trying to keep bedtimes and mealtimes close to the times that your child regularly naps and eats can sometimes prevent meltdowns.
Have fun! Encourage your child to have fun! Make picture books together upon your return and discuss all the fun things they did on vacation.