PARENT PICKLES: Guide to travelling with the kids
WITH the last week of the school year winding down and Christmas only two weeks away, many families will soon be hitting the road.
Whether it's a trip to visit relatives over Christmas or a well-earned family holiday, the long periods of travel in the time can be testing on anyone, let alone children.
If your children are uncomfortable or bored children they can create issues from the backseat and be a dangerous distraction to your driving.
If you're taking the plane or train, your children may also create a scene or become a nuisance to other passengers.
Lots of these issues can be handled if you plan ahead and have some practical techniques to alleviate the situation.
TRIPS IN THE CAR
Planning ahead can be a real help when travelling in the car, that means providing plenty of activities, preferably not noisy ones, that your children can do in the back of the car.
These activities don't need to be complicated, they can be as simple as providing colouring books with pencils, story books to read, a DVD player or tablet with their favourite movies, cuddly toys or dolls.
Try to have a range of options for your child to choose from and have them easily within their reach so they don't need you to reach from the front to grab the toys or books for them.
If you've got plenty of time to plan ahead you may also wish to create holiday quizzes or challenges, such as naming rivers you cross, animals you see or towns you drive through.
It's also important to plan ahead when it comes to refreshments. Try to have healthy snacks and water on hand for your child to eat and drink in the back.
You want to make the trip comfortable as possible, so make sure your child is protected from the sun by putting up a sun shade or visor on the window to protect them.
ROAD SAFETY IS VITAL AND KIDS PLAY A PART
At all times, but especially on long trips, it's essential that car's child restraints are compliant with Queensland laws.
All children under 7 must have appropriate restraints and anchorages. If you want more details on what the required restraints are, google "RACQ child restraints" and you will find a link with the relevant information.
Try to stress the importance of road safety to your children. Explain before the trip that they shouldn't throw toys around the car or do other distracting things.
Also make sure you take regular breaks to not only protect yourself from fatigue, but to also prevent your child from getting cabin fever.
A rest stop where your child can run around and play will help make for a more pleasant trip.
THE CHALLENGES Of AIR AND RAIL TRAVEL
Getting on a plane or a train is not a normal event for a child, especially if it's their first time. Naturally they'll be rather excited and/or nervous about going on such an adventure, especially if they're young.
The excitement and nerves will heighten their attention and as a result it's a good idea to prepare them mentally beforehand by explaining what will happen - for example, security and scans, boarding procedures and seatbelts.
Not only are planes and trains confined spaces, they also have limited or no opportunity for a break. This makes it essential to be prepared and pack well.
You will want a change of clothes, nappies, wipes, tissues and extra drink bottles for younger children, while for children of all ages it's a good idea to have a drink bottle, extra snacks, a pillow and items to entertainment options (books, pencils, toys etc).
HELP AT HAND
If you have further questions about this or any other health issue for your child in the Bundaberg area, chat to your GP or visit WBHHS child health team at the Margaret Rose Centre, Bourbong St. You can also phone the WBHHS child health team on:
- Bundaberg: 4150 2700
- Childers: 4192 1133
- Gin Gin: 4157 2222
- Gayndah: 4161 3571
- Mundubbera: 4161 3571
- Monto: 4166 9300
- Biggenden: 4127 6400
- Eidsvold: 4165 7100
Parent Pickles is taking a break over the Christmas and New Year period and will return on January 8.