Heading overseas for the first time? Prepare your child with these easy steps.
1. Discuss the trip in the weeks leading up to your departure.
2. Discuss any fears they might have and help alleviate them. Then, embrace the excitement.
3. If your child is old enough, explain how you apply for passports and visas.
4. Watch movies that are set at your destination.
5. Surf the net together and find interesting and fun facts about your destination.
6. Read local folk tales and talk about the history of your destination. Even if your kids don’t learn anything, you will!
7. Going to Thailand? Eat at a Thai restaurant. Going to Vietnam? Eat Vietnamese. Going to Yemen? Ah… prepare Yemeni cuisine at home. You get the picture.
8. If you are visiting family or friends overseas, familiarize your child by showing him photos and sharing stories.
9. Let your child organize a travel backpack. Let him choose which toys, books and snacks he wants to take as his carry-on luggage. Do a few test runs with him carrying the bag. That way he will understand that “light is better.”
10. Got your tickets? Check out the airline website. Show your child the planes.
11. Prepare your child for long flights. Explain that although the holiday will be fun, getting there will take some time.
12. Is it a nine-hour flight? If your child is old enough to understand the concept of time then one morning explain that you have just boarded the plane, then nine hours later mention that you just landed.
13. If you really want your child to understand the concept of a nine-hour flight, belt them into the car for nine-hours with nothing but a book and their DS. Go and have some you-time while they’re there. (Ok … yes, I’m kidding and just checking that you’re actually reading this!)
14. In the days leading up to your departure start to adjust your child’s patterns to the new time zone. That might mean going to bed a little later each night. This makes the final adjustment, on arrival, less painful. No need to go overboard—small adjustments help.
15. Be excited and relaxed about the trip. Children take their cues from their parents.