Christmas is coming and many of us will travel long distances to our family homes. We adults are prepared for it, but do our children know what awaits them?
I remember the first long trip with my daughter when she was still an infant. I was lucky that she just slept for some part of the travel. However, when she woke she started crying. I wondered how to entertain her. When my husband was driving I could take care of my little daughter. Here are some ideas that I used then and later on during travelling so that the time spent in the car was not associated with boredom and tears.
I thought that if I behaved like at home, she might feel that the journey was not something strange and different. I recited poems, kissing and cuddling her in turns. My daughter loves massages that involve stroking, touching or tickling while telling a story, depending on what we talk about. I also took her favorite color balls with beads which I use for massaging her body with circular movements. I was telling her what I could see outside. When I saw for example horses or sheep I imitated their sounds.
Do not forget to take the baby's favorite CDs. I took a CD with relaxation music and another one with forest and animal sounds (I imitated their voices again). A favourite toy will cheer the baby up as well.
When my daughter grew older, the range of activities broadened. I picked her favourite games from home and adapted them for car or train travels. While travelling you can read books together just like at home. My daughter had her best-loved books and I took them with us. I showed her pictures and read short poems. It was absorbing and my little one did not whine.
I also took a book with finger games. We laughed a lot while playing them. Her favourite ones included: "Doggies", "Rainy walks", "Family" and "Magpie". I recommend books with which you can use a lot of different finger games without repeating them. It seems there are many of them and a book does not take much space.
My hand luggage included also a favourite soft toy and its clothes. Together we dressed up a rabbit called Franek. We fed and stroke him and took care of him. She could always hug him when she was sad or wanted to sleep. When I took more soft toys or dolls I did theater, moving the toys and imitating various sounds.
My last suggestion is an old and well known game: a "mirror image". You do not need any props, just good mood and head full of ideas. Make a face and ask your child to repeat it. And now reverse roles and you repeat after your child. It really works!
I described my ideas above and you may find them inspiring. But remember that you know your child best and you know what he likes, what makes him laugh, and what calms him down. Try not to panic and just have fun with your child as usual, adjusting your activities to the space at your disposal. I encourage you to share your ideas for travelling games with your kids on our website.