Sunday, March 29, 2015

Travel- Montessori Style

As most of you will be traveling during Spring break, I thought I'd offer some suggestions on how to travel with children- Montessori style.

- First, talk to your children about where you are going.  Show them a map or photos and get them involved in the process.  Montessori kids are well acquainted with maps.

- Have them pick out their clothes and pack them in their suitcase.  Help them by telling them how many of a certain item they need to put in. Ex: 3 short sleeve shirts, 5 underpants, 2 skirts, 5 pairs of socks, etc.

- Have them help you buys snacks specific for the trip.  This will help them be excited and also have something to look forward to.

- Set an expectation of limited media (at least to start with).  You can have it as a back up but don't start your trip this way.  If you really need this, then have it hidden and do not discuss the option of it. Once it's presented they will only be looking forward to that as an option.

- Start collecting travel games, puzzles, books, magnetic toys, travel board games, crayons, drawing pads, etc, that they can pack in their own back packs.  Keep these hidden during the rest of the year and pull them out only when you travel.  Keep your eyes on the look out when traveling for new items to add to the rotation.  Airports have some fun items, World Market has vintage style things, and museum gift shops have unique finds. 

-Backpacks: buy children their own travel backpacks, we have both "urban" style ones and hiking style ones.  This allows them to take what they want and be responsible for their own items.  Water, snacks, a small box of crayons, light books, paper, small toys, etc. can fit in here and they carry it around.  It helps them feel independent and yet contributing to the family. 

-For car rides, you can play I spy, or some other conversation style games.  There are also lots and lots of podcasts that have children's stories that you can play.  Also, consider silence.  Allow your child to be "bored" this allows for their imaginations to grow and expand.  They do not need to be occupied, talked to, or entertained the entire time.  Children need some quiet time to be in their own head space.

For air travel, similar to car travel, have things to talk to them, read with them, or play tic tac toe, or other games.  Usborn books have some fun travel doodle books.  Again, keep travel items for travel time alone.  For media use, if you need it keep it hidden and pull out only when necessary.  This varies from person to person, but you'd be surprised you may never need it.  We've never had that as an option, and people think we are crazy, but after 6 years and two kids, it's not something to even consider anymore.  Maybe the older ones 9+ could handle something, but if so, keep it to 1 show, or a specific time limit.

-Most importantly have fun.  Traveling with children is not easy or "relaxing" but as I read in an article years ago, it's just a different way of discovering travel.  Once you accept this, it helps to deal with things accordingly.  Nothing like seeing entire families staring into their own "personal devices" when traveling.  This is the time to connect with each other rather than disconnect.

-Finally, limit their sugar intake in confined spaces.  If you want your children to behave well and to be in control, then sugary teats are a way of confusing their bodies on the input and output.  We have control of what they eat.  Giving them the option of "once we get there" is a possible alternative, or just being strict and saying "no" is also a very good choice.  More on saying "no" to your children in a future post!

Bon Voyage!

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