Our team was recently speaking about ways to help children and young teens gain a sense of mastery for travel. Whenever we have a chance to encourage a sense of mastery and resilience, it is a good thing. Here is a TRAVEL TIP LIST for kids preparing to travel. One of the things that I really love about this list is that it is so empowering, helping kids remember their inner skills for calming, soothing and being resilient.
TRAVEL TIP LIST for Kids
Are you getting ready to take a trip? Summer travel can be super fun. What kinds of things can you do to help yourself be more comfortable on your travel adventure? Here are some tips to try.
Getting ready for your trip:
- Pack comfortable clothes to wear on your trip. Ask yourself, what clothes feel good to wear? What will help me if the weather is warm? Cool?
- Be organized. What kinds of things will you be carrying with you? Often times, kids like to carry some snacks in case you feel hungry. What kind of snacks give you energy when you need it? If you are carrying phone numbers, passports, or money think about the best way to organize these things so that they are safe AND you can find them when you need them.
- Consider packing your outfits and toiletries in zip lock bags for easy sorting.
- Label your clothing with your name on the tag (or have a parent help you).
- Bring an item that brings you comfort This might be a journal, a stuffed animal, calming music, a stone in your pocket, a picture of a family member or pet – anything that reminds you of comfort and care.
- Pack lightly – the more items you have to carry, the more weight you have to lug around, and the more you have to be responsible for bringing back home.
- Make sure you eat enough, drink enough water, and get good rest the day and morning before a big trip.
While on your trip:
- Listen to calming music or notice pleasant noises in the environment that are calming – bird singing, the sound of the wind, etc. By picking a calm point of focus you can center yourself in the midst of new places, people, and things.
- Practice the STOP skill. The STOP skill can help you feel more settled and help you figure out next steps. S: Stop or pause. T: Take a breath. That’s right. Breathe in calm, breathe out your stress. Take a few of these calming breaths. O: Observe how you feel. Notice your body sensations, your thoughts, and your emotions. P: Prepare a plan. What else do you need to do to settle your body? To quiet your thoughts? To calm your emotions? To get support from family or friends? Set your plan in motion with bravery.
- Remember that you always have your own space. Sometimes on a big trip it can feel like all your usual safe places are no longer there for you, that things are out of control, or that people are staring at you. Stop. You always are in charge of you. To help remind you, drape an article of clothing around your shoulders or fold your arms in front of you. It may make you feel more protected in an unfamiliar environment.
There are many things you can do to help yourself have a great trip. We hope some of these tips will help you be creative, brave and in charge of yourself on your travels.
Some ideas were inspired by this article: Travel when You Have an Anxiety Disorder