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How To Have the Best Time on Family Vacations With Small Kids

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The leaky diapers, the flat refusals, the tablecloth pulled off at the restaurant... Travel with small kids has its perils. Yet, years later,family trips are often our best memories of our kids' young years. Here's the five "P's" for happy travel with kids. 
Time Required: Ongoing for at least 8 years

Here's How:

  1. Prepare. Take lots of snacks, drinks, amusements, (see below) on long plane rides-- and, really, everywhere you go. 
  2. Pace.  Don't try to do too much!  Schedule one major activity per morning, or afternoon; if all goes well, you can perhaps slip in a second activity. (Don't mention the second activity until you're certain, though-- avoid disappointment!)  
  3. Pacing also means allowing extra time in the day for some down time, and some wild time: kids need rest periods, and they also need to run around and let off some steam.
  4. Pre-empt: offer snacks and drinks before kids get too hungry or thirsty. Take a break before they're overtired.
  5. Also: watch out for those small but tell-tale signs that your kids need a rest: that change in tone, that particular frown...
  6. Patience: and more patience.
  7. And perhaps most important of all: Play. Have fun with your kids!

Tips:

  1. Patience actually saves time, in the long run: it's far quicker to muster an extra five minutes of patience than to spend fifteen minutes coaxing a three-year-old out of a snit. 
  2. Remember: even the bad moments of your travels with wee ones will look very precious, once they've grown into large-size kids! 
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