Country Child caught up with motherhood blogger Aisling aka Mummy On The Run who divulged her 10 reasons why you can travel with pre-school children.
If you’re wondering whether it’s a sensible idea to travel with young children, here are all the reasons why you SHOULD travel with pre-school kids:
1 - They will adapt much more easily than you might anticipate when it comes to their usual routine. And this advice comes from a Gina Ford fan whose life was ruled by sleeping and feeding times! For me, once Jasper became old enough to take or leave his lunchtime nap (from around the age of two), life became much more flexible and we took full advantage of this timing to travel with pre-school kids.
2 - From the age of approximately three onwards, the chances are that your travel with pre-school kids is creating lifelong memories for them. My daughter (aged four and a half at the time) recently recalled a holiday to France the previous year. She was three and a half at the time and the memory arrived totally out of the blue. Experts say memories are created from as young as three. Thanks to smartphones nowadays, memories can be kept alive much more.
3 - You will inspire them to visit more of the world. Seeing one country and trying out simple words in a new language is likely to inspire an interest in visiting new countries around the world. At the very least, it will instil a real life understanding that the world is much bigger and full of very different and interesting people and things than the village/town/city in which you currently live
4 - They will learn that there is more to the world than their own sphere. My four year old and I played a game over the course of our adventure where we took it in turns to point out differences between the countries we were in compared with London. It often resulted in ‘why’ questions off the back of our ideas as she understood that life is very different in other parts of the world and the differences are fascinating
5 - You will inspire an interest in people, nature, language, geography. People behave differently in other countries. My kids are not used to strangers talking to them but whilst we were away, we barely walked past a person that didn’t smile/speak to or touch them. This resulted in sometimes tricky conversations about dealing with strangers but very positive discussions about cultural differences
6 - If you’re not going totally off the beaten track, chances are your kids won’t starve even if they are fussy eaters. Our kids eat a lot but they are fairly stubborn when it comes to what they eat and like most kids they love their staples of spaghetti, sausages, fish fingers. We set a holiday rule that spicy dishes aside, they couldn’t say they didn’t like something if they hadn’t tried it first. As a result, they tried different types of noodles, chicken, fish. Having said that, they ate A LOT of fish fingers and chips and spaghetti bolognaise – two dishes that featured on the menu a lot more than we expected. Failing that, plain or fried rice (with or without protein and vegetables) often did the job for us
7 - A double pram will make your life manageable. Transport was a big sticking point for us. At home in London, we were used to a Maclaren Techno XT pram and Micro Scooters as our standard mode of transport. We thought about taking the Maclaren and a buggy board. But we knew the heat would probably mean more day time napping plus we wanted to be able to go out for a meal and/or drinks as a couple whilst the kids slept at the same time. We needed a double buggy that allowed both kids to sleep at the same time. And we needed one capable of tackling all types of terrain. My ‘been to every country in the world’ brother thought we were bonkers bringing a pram – but he doesn’t have kids! We really didn’t have a choice though. We bought a second hand Mountain Buggy Duet for £30. Aside from a few minor dramas with a couple of flat tyres, it did the job perfectly for us. My four and a half year old (taller and heavier than average) fitted in easily too. We were intending to chuck the pram after this adventure but we’ve decided to hold on to it for the next one ‘just in case’.
8- Long haul travel isn’t as bad as you think. I’ve written a list of top tips when flying with kids. Hedge your bets and book an evening flight: you increase your chances of your pre-schooler getting some shut eye. Invest in a Fly Legs Up if you’re travelling in economy. If they’re awake, it will make them more comfortable and if they are feeling sleepy, then you will find it an essential accessory to a better quality sleep.
9 - You’ll probably get more sleep than you’ve had for a while! Sleep when your kids sleep: this reminds me of the advice from the newborn days but it applies beautifully on travels. At the end of our adventure, I’ve had more sleep than I can remember as more often than not, we went to bed at a similar time as the kids. They got up reasonably early (7ish local time – later than our usual 6am start at home) so we made the most of our days but after we all had dinner together, we usually were back to our rooms. If we had a separate area or a balcony, my husband and I would stay up and chat, have a beer and play some cards, but a lot of the time, we went to bed at roughly the same time as them.
10 - Sharing new experiences with your kids from an early age is a fulfilling exercise as a parent and good for your soul and theirs. Chances are it’s likely to inspire you to do more on a regular basis which will do wonders for your parent-child relationship in the long-run.
Check out more of Aisling's musings on motherhood at www.mummyontherun.co.uk