The holiday season is just around the corner. This means days and days of exciting activities and tons of fun for the little ones in our lives. However, it could also mean long stretches of boring travel, staying in an unusual place, and spending time with relatives that are almost strangers. All of these things can be quite overwhelming for young children, leading to poor behavior and a stressful holiday season.
In order to combat these issues, it is important that you as a parent make the proper preparations. There are many things you can do to make holiday-related travel easier on your kiddos. Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks.
Bring Engaging Activities
Cross-country car trips, long airplane rides, and hours of hanging out in a house devoid of toys can lead to a seriously bored kiddo. Unfortunately, unless you are headed south, playing outside is likely less than comfortable, and constant TV and tablet time is not ideal.
Why not nip the boring moments in the bud by packing up some simple yet engaging activities for your children? Some great, Montessori-approved activities include:
- Pom-Pom Tweezing — This is a super simple activity that requires two small plastic containers, a number of pom-poms, and a pair of tweezers. Simply place the pom-poms in one container and instruct the child to move them from the empty container using ony the tweezers. This helps build fine motor skills and prepares the child for writing. It is also a great challenge for younger kids. If your child seems bored by this, add an extra challenge by giving them extra containers and asking them to sort the pom-poms by color or size while still only using the tweezers.
- Fabric Match — Provide your child with two bags, each filled with an identical set of fabric squares of various textures and colors. Have the child create matches by taking one square from the first bag and finding the identical square in the second bag. You can make the game more challenging by instructing the child to close their eyes and match the squares based on texture alone. This activity is great for tactile, visual, and weight discrimination, as well as one-to-one correspondence.
- Color Grading — Before you leave, head to your local hardware store and pick up a number of paint color swatches. On your trip, have your child sort the paint swatches by color. Once all of the cards have been sorted, see if your little one can put the cards in each color category in order from lightest to darkest. While this work is happening, your child will be developing an appreciation for color and sorting skills.
Involve the Children in Packing and Preparing
Kids have an intense desire to be a part of the world around them and have some control over their environment. This is why the Montessori method encourages children to clean up after themselves, prepare simple meals, and fill their water cups on their own. This is also why your kids should be a part of the packing process.
When packing your bags, try giving your child a pile of their own clothes to sort, fold, and put into their bag. You can also give them choices when it comes to which clothes to pack. Finally, allow the child to help with choosing wrapping gifts for relatives. All of this gives the child the sense of control they need to feel grounded even when their whole world is turned upside down.
Map Out Your Trip
Another thing that will help your child feel more grounded is to map out your adventure with them. Purchase a simple map and show your little one where you live, where you will be going, and where you might stop in between. Talk about how many miles you will be traveling and how long the trip might take. Mark your route on a map and give your child a marker to mark where you are at certain points throughout your travel. Giving your kid this sense of where they are will help them feel more secure and can add to the educational aspect of travel.
By using these simple tips and tricks and employing your own knowledge of your children and their personalities, you will most certainly have a wonderful holiday trip. Have a great time and happy holidays!