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Traveling with the Kids?

Written by Elizabeth Pantley

Traveling with kids? Here's some advice: before heading out on your next family vacation, learn the tips that will make this trip successful for everyone.successful strategies for traveling with the kids

For parents, thoughts of embarking on a family trip, conjure up memories of Chevy Chase's on-screen family the Griswalds in the 1983 movie National Lampoon's Vacation.

Packed into a station wagon, the Griswalds' miserable cross-country trek to Wally World ended in a chaotic combination of road kill, drug use and armed hostages. Although the film was extreme, there's no doubt that traveling with kids presents a parental challenge.

 
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But according to Elizabeth Pantley, author of Perfect Parenting, getting away from it all needn't result in the desire to run away from your kids as well. A family vacation can even be fun.
 
Find out what you can do before you leave to make your next trip enjoyable for the entire family.
 
Tell them what to expect
As you plan your vacation, prepare your kids for what's going to happen. Let them know what the travel plans are, where you'll be stopping along the way and how many Ding Dongs they'll get to eat. The better prepared they are, they less they'll nag.
 
Brush up your skills
Before you even buy the tickets, pull out your favorite parenting book and review the important discipline skills you'll need to maintain a peaceful, enjoyable environment. Decide what rules and routines will be followed while you're away. Talk with the kids about what behavior you expect from them.
 
Plan ahead
Even if you're heading for the tropics, there's always the chance of rain and of you being stuck in your hotel room. Even if it's sunny the entire vacation, there will be times you'll want the kids to be quietly entertained. Bring along as many lightweight/small-size games and activities that you can, like puzzles, clay, balloons, stickers, Legos, travel-size games and activity books.
 
Travel smart
Many a train, plane or car trip is ruined by bored kids waiting for the fun to begin. Make the trip part of the fun, by bringing along "fun baggies" full of new activities. (See the examples above.) Bring favorite snacks even if food is provided, since they probably won't like what's served. Bend a few rules, such as allowing the kids to chew bubble gum. Bring along a soccer ball and stop along the way for a quick game to help the kids release all that restrained energy.

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Excerpted with permission by NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group Inc. from Perfect Parenting, The Dictionary of 1,000 Parenting Tips by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright.

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