Children can be a handful at the best of times, let alone when you have to take one (or more!) away for hours at a time in a confined space. Travelling with small children sounds like a mammoth task on paper, but it doesn’t have to be…
Whether you’re travelling with one child or five, thirty miles away or three hundred miles away, we’ve put together some top tips to make travelling by train with small children a fun and stress-free experience.
Plan in advance
Even without children, leaving your travel plan to chance is an exceptionally bad idea. The truth is, unfortunate things happen… Your cab might make you late to the train station, or maintenance work on the tracks could disrupt your journey entirely.
What should you do to minimise the possibility of your train journey being thrown into disorder? Plan, plan, plan! Map out exactly where you need to be and at what times, leaving room for potentially-devastating, time wasting situations like your youngest child refusing to put their coat on.
If you’re in need of train times and prices, don’t forget to look and purchase in advance to get the best deals, and to cement your organisation.
Pack snacks, treats and goodies
For a peaceful, stress-free train ride with your children, be sure to have a bag packed with snacks, treats and goodies to keep them… quiet. For a few minutes, at least.
This is especially important if your train journey is quite lengthy! The last thing you need is your child or children tapping on your shoulder and telling you that they’re hungry – over and over again. Plus, a little chocolate treat or a sweet is great to have in your back pocket for when they’re feeling particularly restless.
Ensure you have materials to keep them entertained
It’s positively ludicrous to expect a child to sit still and silent for a long length of time. While it’s true that not all kids develop at the same rate, there are typical ages when kids are able to sit still for certain amounts of time. Spoiler alert: the longest is just 40 minutes!
With this in mind, it’s paramount to the success of your journey that you ensure you have materials to keep them entertained. Magazines, books, and a smartphone with downloaded game apps and video streaming services are all fantastic choices. Oh, and whatever you do, make sure you don’t make the mistake of packing them within your luggage instead of your handbag.
Be considerate of their feelings
As an adult, it’s easy for us to forget what it feels like being a child – after all, it was a long time ago. Most children are naturally restless, impatient and get bored very easily, and although you might feel frustrated and exasperated with them at times, just try to be considerate and understanding!
It’s quite likely that when you were three, five, seven or nine years old, you would have also felt restless on a long train ride.