These videos and articles focus on things that fuel my energy- global experiences, loved ones, and life learnings.
Question- How is it traveling with the parents? (Children’s grandparents)
Lakshmi’s Learning- At times, your parents take your advice!! So, my brother and I have traveled with our parents to many countries, even before we had children. We are blessed to still have that and encourage them to always come with us. We bring our parents on these trips for the family memories NOT to babysit. Yes, of course they help with the kids at times and kids LOVE having them. BUT- they also are enjoying themselves and achieving their bucket list items.
I wanted to share a different Travel Plus Them moment- a story about my moms! My mother is a fearless woman and she has been snorkeling many times (this is her second time in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia). However, my mother-in- law is much more cautious and does not know how to swim. At 70 years old- she has never been in the ocean! And so I held her hand and we went snorkeling together!
Why is this moment...
Question- Do we need to travel with car seats? It becomes so tedious.... what is required?
Lakshmi’s Learning- I will address this question based on “international travel” versus domestic US. The short answer to this question is... it depends on baby’s age (e.g. 9 month old versus 3 year old), country rules, and your comfort as parents.
Please note that 1) some countries do not mandate car seats (does not mean that is good, but requirements do vary around the world) OR 2) they only require car seats for residents (e.g. you don’t need car seat in taxi).
My recommendation is: we traveled internationally with our car seat before our first daughter was 1 year old (our first child = extra cautious). After that- we would read the local country laws and decide (we never traveled with car seats again- just would decide how to handle as needed locally).
IF the country requires car seats, we either rent them with car OR they have car seat rental...
Question- How do we manage kids jet lag with a time zone difference? How long does it take?
Lakshmi’s Learning- We have done this many times during our travels which have included everything ranging from: -3 hours to +16 hours... and of course, made mistakes and learned along the way. Here is an “optimal” way... and we adults have to do it too. (We are in Australia now +16 hours from US eastern time zone)
The recommendation is simple- once you are in the new time zone- everyone stay on that new time zone! Even if everyone is exhausted and it’s 5pm- do not go to sleep. Stay up, walk around, do fun things, exhaust yourselves and the kids! IF everyone needs a little nap after lunch time- then fine (2-3 hours max). But do not make that 5 hours- then you will struggle with waking up in middle of the night (I learned this earlier this year while in Dubai- I too took a 5 hour afternoon nap with the kids and they were up in the middle of the night).
Question- Does vacation = no routine? It can become hard to adjust back when we return home.
Lakshmi’s Learning- Well- that does not have to be the case. When you are away- you can still keep important aspects of your “home routine” while also embracing vacation mode (traveling too is a life education and experience no matter where you go—- don’t forget that!). The term “routine” is multifaceted for kids with nap times, eating, school work, bath time, certain activities, etc.
I will address one aspect- “school work” (in the case of my kids- it’s still only preschool). For us- practicing writing/coloring/reading/math are a daily routine. Especially reading at night before bedtime (and separate books for each of them). We do that everyday no matter where we are (important- try to pack paperback books versus hard cover to minimize weight)!
And I have my kids pack their books, pencils/crayons, and school work....
Question- How can I teach my kids about the world/continents/countries even if we are not traveling?
Lakshmi’s Learning- As I mentioned on an earlier post— education starts with us at home. There is so much we can do to bring global awareness to kids. We sing this “Continents, Continents” song! Then we “deep dive” into a specific continent and they start naming the countries. Both my girls LOVE country flags and have a dining placemat that shows them all countries. We also learn hello, goodbye, and thank you in the local language (Thanks Google translator). We study all of this before our trips. We started doing this when Shyla was 1 year old—- so it’s never too early to start!
You may wonder, this sounds just like basic school geography...what does this do? Well, it’s you teaching them, not the school. That means something to kids and it is always reinforced in school. It is the beginning of the kids being...
Before our upcoming holiday vacation, I wanted to share a proud parent moment. While my kids have much more than I did growing up (as many kids in their generation), they made me so happy with this.
Question- How can you ensure your kids give to others?
Lakshmi’s Learning- Over the last year, we had the kids pack all their used (but in great condition) toys to give to the local children’s shelter. Then we went to the center to play with the kids and my girls had a great time (didn’t take pictures for privacy purposes). Based on those experiences, my girls insisted that we support the local toy drive for the holidays. They actually picked out the toys from Target themselves and they truly understood who the toys will go to. And, what did my kids receive in return-they asked for a lollipop with so much joy!
During any time of year—- having children give to others is the greatest joy! Please have your children 1) consolidate/pack their toys/clothes or buy new...
#dontrun A special post today... Happy Birthday to my niece Rima. We adore you!
Question- How can my kids not run around in public? In different directions? I can’t chase them! What do I do?
Lakshmi’s Learning- Who remembers the old “chu chu train” game? Well, even with all the advancements we have made with new games and technology— these #oldschool games are still so much fun and kids love them!! Remember- your kids don’t know it’s old school.... a game is a game!!! Even if you have one kid- you can follow OR lead in front.
I use this to board flights (I travel a lot with them alone), walk through airports (no holding hands), and take them out in public. It quickly can transform a potential yelling scene (me screaming at kids to stop running around) into a fun game of listening.
Stay tuned for more from my girls where we will talk about airplane entertainment!
Here is Part 2 of the #airplanegame as told by my daughters. And it worked this weekend- we had such a smooth flight and naps!
Question- How can kids sit still on a plane? How can I get them to want to sleep?
Lakshmi’s Learning- As previously mentioned, preparation can play an integral role for a smooth flight. Here are my girls sitting on the “pretend airplane” at home.
Shyla repeats the rules from the captain (no screaming, no crying, no jumping, no kicking, and no whining— these are essential). Then my younger daughter Shriya says the critical line- “It’s time to sleep”!!! Guess she listens well to all the times I have said it. When playing the game at home- integrate pretend sleep and it can translate to sleep on the plane. Remember- kids learn routines just like nap time. Stay tuned for more from my girls where we will talk about airplane entertainment!
A throwback to Shriya’s first birthday.
We spent time in Barcelona with the Amruthur family and of course, the Natarajan parents! Family is awesome and it’s a blessing to travel together for birthdays.
Question: Can toddlers/kids enjoy “famous sights” such as monuments, places of worship, and museums?
Lakshmi’s Learning: Yes, they can! We found that monuments (e.g. structures like the Colosseum in Rome) and places of worship (churches, temples, mosques) are a hit.
From their perspective, these places are open areas to walk around versus paying attention to a tour. Trying to formally tour a museum (e.g. Louvre in Paris) requires more of an attention span. It’s definitely doable, but will feel rushed!
And when none of this works, I am sure the kids will find pigeons to chase and be very happy!
What are your favorite travel experiences with your family?