Traveling with children
So here is a subject that can not only test our level of patience, but can also push us to the point of readiness to throw our child off the plane without a parachute in tact.
How many of us have been here before? Bags packed, vacation booked, eager for the calm and tranquility that comes from distance.
In my case, the destination was Disney. Of course, many of you are already gritting your teeth knowing the experience of peak season in Orlando, Florida and its many joys of being bunched with the masses.
We arrive and I think this place is glorious—the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort—you could practically stay here for a month and have the kids totally stoked to hit the wide array entertainment—swan paddle boats, walkable boardwalk, indoor arcade, gym, spa, restaurants, beach area, playground, shopping and let me not leave out Camp Dolphin, without which Xbox would have been inaccessible, especially when traveling with only a laptop, iPad, iTouch, iPhone, Kindle Fire and Nintendo 3DS. Simply not enough! I mean, a kid could practically die of boredom!
So now, how do I take my (ungrateful) darlings and help to promote a less “gimme gimme” mentality and a more yogic, or perhaps gratitude-filled experience that will allow them one day to look back, I hope, and take the memories in?
Here are some positive tips I picked up and thought I’d share.
1.) Bring attention to nature. We were filled with ducks and baby ducks, cranes, and lizards galore! Each time we pointed them out, the kids were thrilled to try and get closer to them.
2.) We also did our best to work with compare and contrast. For example: “Don’t you just love how Florida has all these cool palm trees? We don’t have those back home!” In this way, we were trying to instill the idea of how lucky we were to have this experience.
3.) Ask questions along the way and keep them positive: “What was your favorite part of the Monsters, Inc. experience at Disney? Who is your favorite character?”
4.) Strike a yoga pose: I went for lotus on its a small world ride in the boat. Yes! At other times, the kids and I did a forest of tree postures while waiting on the massive line for Peter Pan ride in front of their forest display. If you can manage, grab a Disney character and see if you can get them to join in the yogic fun. Unfortunately, the closest I got was to Woody and Jessie from Toy Story, and while waiting in line to get near them, a thunder and rainstorm broke out, and they disappeared. I was quite shocked that we didn’t meet a single princess. Next time I’ll try this in the off-season.
5.) When the whining doesn’t stop, give in and get some ice cream. Sure it may not be the most yogic, but it is among the cheaper options you will find, and will bring instant joy to nearly any disastrous outburst.
I think it’s also important that you keep your daily practice up as well, which will not only center you better to deal with young children while traveling, but will enhance your overall level of patience during your trip. I made sure to declare a little “me time” each day, even when it meant waking up a little earlier to do so.
Involve your kids in a group “Om” and talk about what means the most to them about being on vacation and what would truly make their day. Photo document your trip so they have a clear memory of all the shenanigans that happen along the way.
Keep in mind, vacation is just that—finite. It has a start and an end date and that is all you get, so make the most of it! If all else fails, share my idea of tossing them off the plane without the parachute! It doesn’t hurt to teach your children gratitude and appreciation, which often get overlooked when traveling.
Happy travels and namaste,
Editor: Brianna Bemel