Three Essentials For Traveling Comfortably

1. Make your actions talk, not your words.

travelling with kidsWhether traveling to school, or traveling across the country, you want your actions to speak louder than your words (when you do this, your words become more meaningful).How do you do this?

You do this by letting the kids know that certain actions will result in an immediate “travel time out.”

What is a travel time out?

Travel time out is a way of teaching kids that you’ll only be traveling when their behaviors are within acceptable limits. If you are in the car, you let them know that you are going to pull over and sit on the side of the road, doing absolutely nothing, until all is quiet for at least five minutes. You then resume your travel.It’s important that you institute this with a maximum of one warning. Be careful not to fall into the mistake that many parents make by offering numerous threats. Let them know that you are going to do it, and then follow through.

You can use this for sibling fighting, repeated complaints, tantruming, and other difficult behaviors you find happening while you are in the car.

If you are in the airplane, you simply remove all of their toys, electronic gadgets, and books. It’s like a time out while traveling. This will not be a big deal if you have already established that you are a parent of action, not words. (If you try this on an airplane, without having established that you are a parent of actions, watch out! It may get very ugly!)

It is essential to let your children learn that your behavior will not be controlled or manipulated by their outbursts. In other words, you must establish that you will not dance around their upsets. If you do, then they will learn that it is not you that “drives the bus.”

Make sure, if you need to set limits firmly, that you do so primarily with consequences. When you develop this habit, you will find your kids learning quickly, and you use less and less of your time to manage behavior. More time will be available to enjoy your life with your children!

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2. Primarily NOTICE the behavior you want to nurture.

This is a point that I frequently make to parents. And it is a point that cannot be over-emphasized. There are certain fundamentals that seem so obvious, but yet they get ignored so frequently.

Let’s go back to the well-intentioned mom traveling with her son. What did she notice? She noticed each and every time her son “messed up” based upon her well-intentioned expectations.Not once did she just smile at him when he was reading his book. Not once did she simply give him a kiss while he was looking out of the window of the plane. Not once did she just hold his hand while he was tapping his toes to the music on his CD. Not once did she compliment his respectful conversation with me.

And yet, this is where she was surrendering her potential to have a major influence on her son. She was using her power – her influence – to notice and expand only the “negative” behavior.

Remember: Whatever you consistently notice, it will grow.

3. Be prepared to engage your kids as you travel.

This is particularly true for long travels. Kids appreciate and enjoy our attention when we offer it.Thus, I would encourage you to have books, games, and even electronic toys that you can share with your kids.

Encourage periods of independent play, but intersperse these with periods of shared play or reading. When the kids are playing or reading more independently, then (periodically) engage them for brief “moments” (as mentioned above).

The key is to be prepared with the right “stuff” AND to have the right mental attitude. Be ready to engage the kids, and have an attitude that this will be fun. Bring that to conversations and to your shared time, and the trip will be lighter.

Well there you have it. The do’s and don’ts that can turn your travels into an enjoyable experience.

Another way of saying it: Where your attention goes, their energy flows!

Consistently notice what is wrong, and you will find that more and more is “wrong” with your child’s behavior.

When you obsess upon noticing and appreciating the behavior you want to nurture, that behavior will grow. You can’t stop it. Your child can’t stop it. It’s got to happen.

Does it happen all at once?

Of course not! It happens gradually, and expands over a period of four to eight weeks. It can take even longer for certain types of behavior, depending upon the family circumstances.

So I encourage you to become more and more willing to take a moment to notice when things are quiet, when kids are getting along, when kids are reading a book quietly…

Notice these moments, and then briefly engage your child with a smile, a head nod, a touch on the shoulder, or a compliment. In some way, just simply engage your son or daughter WHILE they are offering the behavior you want to nurture. Put “moments” of your attention to what you value, and their energy will gradually flow there more and more.

kids enjoying time travelling

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Well there you have it. The do’s and don’ts that can turn your travels into an enjoyable experience.

Remember, it remains most important to model the behavior you want your children to develop. If you are in a fatigued, grumpy, and critical mood (demonstrated by your constant criticism and nagging of the kids), then your kids will probably demonstrate the same. In addition, when in that mental state, it is extremely difficult to follow through with the suggestions that I’ve outlined in this newsletter.

On the other hand, when you exude a sense of gratitude, happiness with your life, as well as respect for others, it becomes easy to follow through with these suggestions. It is also easy for your kids to learn from the model that you offer.

BONUS SECRET FOR TRAVEL SUCCESS: Traveling in peace is something that begins with taking control of daily travel at home, when going to and from regular daily events. When kids learn that you can effectively maintain a peaceful and calm environment in your daily life, traveling long distance becomes a breeze!

To learn more about how you can create calm, pleasant travels on a daily basis, click here to learn about the complete, instructional program that Dr Cale created, Daily Travel In-Sanity.