Hudson Valley Parent

hvp October 092017

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22 Hudson Valley Parent n October 2017 On the move Traveling means parents have to pull off a juggling act of expecting the unexpected, planning ahead and thinking on their feet. Aside from bringing an arsenal of snacks, toys, books and activities, the advice I heard to ease the traveling struggles breaks down into two strategies. First, there's the "Screen time limits? What screen time limits?" approach. If letting your child have a movie, TV or gaming marathon keeps everyone safe and sane, then so be it. My family was already tired and cranky from a delay at the airport, so once we were on the plane, I was happy to let my kids drown in their devices while I read a magazine. The other strategy: "Getting there is half the fun." This is a great time, free of the distractions of everyday life, to play games, share stories, ask questions or even trade silly jokes. The Wishbone app is one of our favorite ways to get family discussions started. It asks simple "which do you choose" questions and lets you post your own. Travel can even be part of the adventure. "We drove from New York to Missouri last year and I planned our trip on the Roadtripper app," says Katie Angel of Wappingers Falls. "We stopped every eight hours and found local activities. It was the best vacation we'd ever been on." Oh, the places you'll go Whether you're at a theme park or a location with great attractions nearby, you're going to have a list of things to do. Hopefully, you've let your kids help with the planning and everyone has their priorities set. The most common piece of advice I got was this: Don't treat your activities like a marathon. Break them up, and build in down time. "We ended up not using a day of our pass on our trip to Disney World," says Alison Easton of New Paltz. "It was hard because those passes are pricey. But we were all exhausted, and that day at the hotel pool was way more fun than the hot mess of a day we would have had just to use the pass." "Underpromising is key," says Walsh. "Once you commit to doing something, you really have to do it. Try to find the balance between planning and slowing down the rhythm, so you can actually enjoy your experiences." The added bonus of underpromising, I found, was that we had built-in positive reinforcement for good behavior. Most days, I offered up one special, optional activity to earn and my girls always earned it. Things won't always go as planned, and that's a great learning opportunity for kids in terms of handling disappointment and being flexible. When C. learned she was too short for one of the rides on her list, she was devastated. Ditto for the moment she discovered that another ride was closed for renovation. We found a way to spin it, though. This gave us extra time to go on two favorite rides once more before leaving the park. Unfamiliar quarters My kids were excited about sleeping in my parents' sun porch and at the cool hotel we saw online. My husband and I knew the reality might be less awesome. We adults like our space, and our kids need their routines. "Bring comfort items from home and set up a special nighttime ritual if you can," says Walsh, "but be flexible and willing to wing it if necessary." That might mean switching up bed arrangements or improvising so everyone can handle the amount of noise or light. We came prepared, armed with a white noise machine, ear plugs, and eye masks. "I always tell people to bring a nightlight - I think it's so important that I include one in my gift packages to clients traveling with children." says Lori Miller, a mom and travel agent in Hyde Park. Because of C.'s dietary issues, I decided to upgrade our reservation The girls brought comfort items from home to their family suite at Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort which helped take the terror out of sleeping in unfamiliar beds. TRAVELING WITH SPECIAL NEEDS (Continued from Page 21)

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