Traveling with Young Kids? Pack So You Can Have a Consistent Routine

By Jeffrey Field
December 15, 2017

When traveling with young kids, create a consistent routineThe frustrating hassle of travel gets exponentially harder when you take young children along. Whether you're going on a holiday getaway, visiting relatives or making a wintertime escape to warmer weather, planning and consistency can make a family trip go smoother.

Emily Day, APRN, from The University of Kansas Health System's Integrative Medicine clinic, says it's important for children to have regular routines, even if they're staying in unfamiliar places.

"Kids thrive on routine," she says.

That means doing your best to stick to the bedtimes and pre-bedtime rituals you've established at home. It means sticking to consistent activities and foods. Traveling is a bad time to introduce a young child to foods that might cause gastrointestinal problems.

"Do your best to stay on an eating plan, with only minor deviations," Day says.

She says that on a recent trip with her young son, they rented a place through Airb&b. She said it was less expensive than a hotel.

The rental came with access to a kitchen, so Day's family could make the meals they wanted. With a living room and kitchen separate from the bedroom, her son could have a normal bedtime while the adults could stay up longer.

Day encourages families to pack their own snacks, including apples, healthier snack bars like Kind and RXBar, or small amounts of cheese and deli meat. Squeeze packs of pureed organic fruits and vegetables are a good option for very young children.

If your children have special dietary needs, you can't rely on always being able to find these foods while on the road – or even at your destination. Day says her recent flights had no gluten-free snack options, so she encourages people to pack the things they need.

She also says it's a good idea to bring a water bottle for the plane.

"Empty it at airport security and fill it back up once you're past the checkpoint," she says. "Don't rely on the small water cups you get (on airplanes) for your hydration.

Good hydration, especially while traveling, can give you increased energy while preventing illness and dangerous blood clots. Exercise, even just doing extra walking or core workouts in your hotel room, is also important.

Proper sleep is essential while you're traveling and it might not be easy in unfamiliar environments. Earplugs and eye shades can be helpful if you're stuck in bright or noisy spots.

The University of Kansas Health System Integrative Medicine can help you find a personal roadmap to better health. Call 913-588-6208 to make an appointment with a member of our team.

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