Traveling? Apps to pack to avoid summer brain drain

Warm weather and sunshine are putting families across the country in vacation-planning mode. Whether traveling by train, plane or automobile, mobile devices are typically the first thing parents and kids pack.

techy travel

In fact, American families take more than 100 million leisure trips a year and the average family juggles up to six devices – ranging from smartphones to tablets to laptops. It’s no surprise that summer is the most popular family travel time, and for many kids the school break can result in a measurable brain drain. Studies show students lose about a month of learning during the summer break. Concerned parents can dial up the learning quotient with a few well-packed apps that keep little ones engaged whether traveling far or settling in for a summer staycation.

With more than 300 new apps unveiled every day, finding the right-sized app for your child can be daunting. Skip the exhausting mind-meld. Smart parents use trusted sites like Common Sense Media to search for apps by age, theme and ratings, or pop onto a family-friendly network like Fingerprint to peruse a library of apps that parents approve and kids love.

By doing a little homework, parents can find an app for every kind of kid – world traveler, animal lover, nature explorer or inquisitive preschooler.

For your budding world traveler

Learning a second language at a young age is linked to higher test scores, greater confidence and enhanced critical thinking skills. In fact, mobile apps are one of the easiest (and most accessible) ways for kids to learn a new language – any time, any place. For example, the Kids Learn Mandarin app takes kids (ages 3 to 8) on a magical journey through 12 playgrounds with nearly 100 interactive games where kids learn to read, speak and write 240 Mandarin words.
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Help Your Kids Have A Fun, Safe, And Hassle-Free Experience In The Airport And On The Plane

Tips For Having An Enjoyable Airport and Flight Experience With The Kids

  • Let your children help pack their own bags so they can pick out a couple of things that they really want for entertainment. It might be a book, an electronic device, or even one of the many travel games that are available.

travel with kids

  • When you get to the airport, let the children be responsible for their own bag or small backpack containing their chosen goodies. The smaller the child, the smaller the pack, but everyone carries their own. If the children are carrying their own stuff, they get to feel grown-up and it’s less for you to carry. You will be more hands-free to direct them safely onto trains, escalators, etc.
  • Security – Herding children through security isn’t as hard as it might seem. If you have more than one adult to help manage them, then it’s no problem at all; you just send the children through one at a time to the other adult who has gone through first. It’s another story if you are the only adult traveling with more than one child, but you can do it. Send the children through first so they don’t follow too closely behind you and you are forced to do the whole walk-through dance again. Older children should be able to put their own carry-on through the x-ray. Remind them that they are in charge of their own bags. Above all, explain to the children how the security check works before you get there and remind them again while you are standing in the line. Knowing what to expect will make it go much smoother.

travel with kids

  • Pre-Board and In-Flight Entertainment – As with a road trip, this is time spent as a family unit and should be welcomed and cherished because it allows time together and the opportunity to play loads of family games like traditional I-Spy, the wonderful Alphabet Game, and “I went to the shop yesterday.” You can also make up new games, which is a game in itself!
  • Ground Transportation – Bring a stroller and gate check it. We recommend an inexpensive umbrella-type stroller for use in airports with toddlers. Toddlers tend to get really tired with all the walking that is often required. They may want to walk anyway, in which case you can use the stroller to hold your carry-on bags. It’s easy to fold up and bring through security. Of course, if your children can handle walking a long distance and you can get by without a stroller, then that’s one less thing to haul around.
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5 Tips for Traveling Internationally With Children

Traveling anywhere with kids can be a trial, even if you’re only making your weekly trip to the grocery store. But when you have to keep children calm and collected throughout the duration of an international flight, you’ll no doubt find that your difficulties increase exponentially. At least when you’ve got them strapped in the car for a road trip, you’re the only one who has to live with their discomfort and the tantrums it can produce. When you’re stuck on an airplane, everyone has to deal with the repercussions associated with fussy kids. And the situation can get pretty ugly if you’re unable to rein in your tots. Luckily, there are steps to ensure that your trip goes a little more smoothly, despite the fact that your kids are unused to sitting still for several hours at a stretch. Here are some tips to keep your kids calm and to carry on when you take an international trip.

international travel with kids

  1. Identification. For the safety of your kids and for your own peace of mind, it’s important that you tag all family members with appropriate identification. This could mean strapping an I.D. bracelet on each child’s wrist or equipping them with a lanyard that features a plastic pocket to store a printout of pertinent data (including their name, any allergies, and of course, a means of contacting you if your child is found). You might also want to carry a current (and clear) photo of each child on you (school pictures are a good option) just in case one of them wanders off or gets snatched in the busy and crowded airport or while you are abroad. Hey, kids are prone to wandering and it’s certainly not unheard of for a parent to lose one when attention is diverted (as when going through security screenings). So you definitely want to be prepared for the possibility, however remote.
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How to survive a road trip with the kids

“Are we nearly there yet?”

Those dreaded words, if you’ve ever gone for a drive that lasts longer than 10
minutes you can be sure that you will hear some variation of this universal
complaint. So, for those unavoidable, longer road trips what can we do to keep
the kids happy?


Water Intake AND Outtake
Do you fancy cleaning milk/juice/other off your car interior? No, we didn’t think
so! Try to take water on a long journey to keep everyone hydrated but make your
life a little easier.
All that water is going to result in numerous rest stop trips. In case you can’t
get to a rest stop in time, make sure you have a potty for younger children and
emergency bottles are perfect for boys in times of need!

Snack Time
If you don’t fancy cleaning milk up then I doubt you’ll be a fan of messy foods
or crumbs. If you need to take snacks on a road trip try fruit sections – lollipops
are great for keeping the little angels quiet for a while, but watch those sticky
fingers!

Think in Time Slots
Try to break your journey up into time slots and plan something different for
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Travel With Kids- Some Thoughts

If you are like me, you want to make travel with your kids as easy and pain free as possible. Road trips are not for the meek of heart- here are a few ideas on how to make them easier, more fun, and how to avoid unnecessary trouble along the way.

1) PLAN!!! You need to plan as much as you can- but be prepared to be flexible and make changes along the way. Be like the tree…..sturdy, rooted,…and pliable 😛

2) Where are you going? Do you have favorite places to eat, or know what restaurants are in the area? How about activities, theme parks, other events? I assume there are things you plan on DOING while on vacation, right? Soooo….bring coupons! No reason to pay full price. Take advantage of travel deals, coupons, text message percentages off, and all sorts of other ways to save money! Great places for information? BLOGS. Yes, of course the places you will be traveling will showcase the deals of the minute- but your favorite bloggers and deal sites can also give you the insider info- the real what’s what, and point out some other fab deals. Checl out travel blogs, savings and deal blogs, area blogs- AND the visitors bureau of the area you will be travelling to (and through! don’t forget those!). SAVE YOUR MONEY!

3) Have a newly potty trained, or potty training kiddo? Bring a little potty along- keep it accessible- and some sani-wipes as well to clean it out after using. Nothing worse then a wet kid in a wet seat on a LONG drive! Plus- who needs more laundry? Don’t push it- just pull over if they have to go. Yes, it’s annoying. They are kids- being annoying is sort of thier “thing” LOL

4) Bring laundry detergent, stain stick (for those “fun” accidents), and a laundry bag. Chances are great that you will be doing some if you are gone more then a few days!

5) Don’t fight the silly/small things. Is your kid insistent on bringing a bag of stuffed toys he sleeps with? Wearing a tutu for the whole trip? Maybe- like mine- won’t sleep in a hotel bed and makes me bring his pack and play even though he is nearly 4 and sleeps in a bed at home???? (Did I mention I hate that?) Whatever- you can fight them, and have a whiney, buggary kid on your trip, or just go with it. For me? Sleep is more precious then his sleeping (or not sleeping) in the area I would prefer. I bring the pack and play. I suggest you just run with your child’s whim of choice, unless it is harmful or completely insane, LOL. It’s just a trip- let them induldge for a second. And as they say- “don’t sweat the small stuff”. Have fun!
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