A Guide To Traveling With Small Children


A Guide To Traveling With Small ChildrenWith spring break right around the corner there will be a lot of families traveling with children. While the excitement of the actual vacation is something to look forward to, I don’t think many people enjoy the long travel times to get to their destination. My family just spent the last week enjoying the beautiful beaches of Hawaii, but to get there from Knoxville was an 18 hour trip! From packing essentials to keeping my six-year-old entertained, it felt like a journey before the actual journey began.

Here are a few tips for smooth sailing (or flying or driving) with your small child:

  1. Pack smart: When it comes to packing, pack the essentials first. Hand sanitizer, wipes, favorite toys, blanket and snacks, etc. I always pack a change of clothes in separate reusable Ziplock bags for easy access. Even with an older child, bring a change of clothes because it’s easy to have an accident on those long overnight flights or drives. Remember that overpacking can make you feel more overwhelmed than prepared in some cases and it’s easier to become unorganized.
  2. Timing is everything: Whenever we are taking a long trip, I try to align our travel time with my child’s sleep schedule. A late night or early morning flight can mean they sleep through most of the journey. For road trips, driving during naptime can provide similar peace.
  3. Keep them entertained: Toys, books, coloring books or homework can keep kids occupied for longer periods. Tablets loaded with their favorite shows or apps can also be a lifesaver in moderation. Remember to bring headphones to avoid disturbing fellow travelers.
  4. Plan for breaks: Whether flying or driving, plan for lots of breaks. Use layovers for a little playtime. Many airports have play areas for children to burn off some energy before the next flight. On road trips, look for rest stops with playgrounds or space to run around. During a four hour layover in the San Francisco airport, I had to find ways to entertain my son. We did a “ninja test” where he did several workouts appropriate for small spaces like jump and jacks, high knees, squats and balancing on one leg. He loved his “ninja training” and thought it was a fun game. Don’t be afraid to get creative — it helps the time go by faster for everyone.
  5. Bring all the snacks: Never underestimate the power of snacks. Keep hunger at bay and prevent meltdowns by keeping plenty of snacks on hand. Try to avoid snacks that are full of sugar and saturated fats and reach instead for healthy mess-free snacks like fresh fruit and veggies, nuts, granola bars, dry cereal, string cheese and jerky. 
  6. Prepare for pressure changes: Remember that during takeoff and landing, air pressure changes and can cause very uncomfortable ear pressure. For babies sucking on a pacifier or drinking from a bottle can help to alleviate pressure. Older children can chew gum, suck on hard candy or sip water. 
  7. Stay calm mama: No matter how much you prepare, traveling can still be unpredictable. Delays, spills and tantrums can and will happen. It’s important for you to remain calm and stay flexible to set a positive tone for the trip. Stay hydrated, pack snacks for yourself and if possible, try to rest when your child does. When you are well-cared for, you’re better equipped to care for your little ones.

I hope these tips are helpful! Traveling with children can be an enjoyable adventure. Even during the journey to the destination, you can create memories that will last a lifetime. Embrace the chaos, expect the unexpected, and remember every trip is an opportunity for your family to grow closer and learn more about the world together.

Happy travels!

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Hi there! I'm Shante Coleman, many know me as Shante YuSlay! I am a licensed esthetician, tattoo artist, professional makeup artist, wife and a proud mom to a wonderful 6-year-old boy. My journey as an entrepreneur and makeup artist has been an incredible adventure. Through my work, I've had the privilege of working on TV shows, glamming celebrities & helping countless individuals look and feel their best. I truly feel blessed with the life I've been given--to wake up every day and do something I love! But there's another side to me that's just as fulfilling and challenging – being a mom. Parenting is a rollercoaster ride, filled with laughter, love, and chaos. My son is my biggest inspiration, and I cherish every moment we spend together. In my home we are always crafting, cooking and finding fun ways to spend time together. I hope as I share my experiences, tips and tricks, it will be helpful to others. I truly look forward to contributing to the Knoxville Moms! Join me on this journey as I balance the glam and giggles of parenthood in Knoxville!



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