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Facing a long journey with the children? This is how to make travel stress free

PLANNING: Some careful preparation can make family travel easier.
PLANNING: Some careful preparation can make family travel easier.
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Whether it is a staycation or travelling abroad, taking children on long journeys is a juggling act especially when it comes to snacking.

If you are going by car the temptation is to stock up on sugary treats but according to experts, Tots to Travel, Lunch Box Doctor and mum-of-two, Jenny Tschiesche and fruity snack producers Fruit Bowl replacing boredom with sugar is a recipe for disaster.

A sugar boost leads to flucuations in energy levels that can be hard to cope with from the front seat, advice is to try a balancing act with chopped up vegetables such as carrot or cucumber sticks with a dip. If you have very young travellers car seats can play havoc with their digestive system, stop the car regularly and allow them to stretch out to avoid problems. a great way to keep interest in a car or on a plane journey is to make up personalised travel bags for each child with a variety of snacks and activities to avoid boredom setting in. You could even plan ahead and download some audio books or podcasts.

Whatever your mode of travel, a good quality insulated water bottle is an essential. Dehydration is often an issue on long journeys, cars can be stuffy and air travel means low humidity, steer clear of juice unless you’re diluting it and use water to wet the nostrils and mouths of babies. At altitude, and especially as you come into land expansion in the middle ear and sinuses can cause discomfort and even pain. Older children could chew on xylitol-based chewing gum whilst babies and toddlers could suck on a bottle or sippy cup to ease this discomfort.

Constipation is often an issue when travelling. This can be due to dehydration but also from eating different foods or drinking different water. Have some natural remedies to hand. Prune juice or prune puree can be really helpful in moving things along as can ground flaxseeds or flax oil. Prune juice can be diluted with water which means you’re hydrating at the same time. Flaxseeds can be added to cereals or yogurt.

Different time zones can also be hard for children who are used to their specific home routine. In the simplest terms if you want your child to stay awake for longer then opt for a lower carbohydrate and higher protein meal. If you want to encourage sleep, then a higher carbohydrate meal is better.

Give kids an incentive to behave with a travel star chart to reward good behaviour at key stages of your journey. Reward tasks such as handing their passport to the check-in staff and once they have five stars they earn a special treat.

And finally, for a happy holiday, remember less is best. A big mistake parents make is trying to squeeze in too much ‘doing’ with their children and not enough simply ‘being’.

Trying to pack in too many activities or visits will result in a grumpy, overtired child who may not settle well at bedtime.