9 Genius Tips to Make Flying with Kids a Breeze

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By Corinne for The Pragmatic Parent

The first flight we took with our one-year-old twins was an absolute disaster. It’s painful even rehashing the experience.

Twenty minutes into the two-and-a-half-hour flight, my twins began to fuss. It wasn’t because of the pressure change because they had made it through take-off and settled into cruising speed with no problem and were comfortably sucking on their pacifiers.

At first, it started as fussing, and then changed to whining. I dug through my diaper bag grabbing snacks and toys.

The stewardess warmed bottles in two mugs of hot water and my husband and I tipped the kids back to settle into the crook of our arms for what we thought would be a milky, peaceful drifting off to sleep.

Instead, they drank their bottles and popped right back up. The whining started again and gradually moved to crying intermixed with bursts of screaming.

I rubbed my daughter on the back, I bounced her, patted her bottom, and held her pacifier in place. Nothing was working and at this point, her crying escalated to full-blown wailing.

I saw my husband dealing with the exact same thing. His face was red and the tight-lipped glare he shot me was all I needed to know he was in serious trouble too.

My son was squirming in his arms, throwing his head back, his arms spread to the side taking in air. A second of momentary silence gave way to a goliath-like scream.

Frantically plucking toys and snacks out of my diaper bag, we tried to distract them and grab their attention with something new. But nothing worked.

They wouldn’t go to the nice set of grandparents sitting behind us and the suckers a mom brought to us from the rear of the plane only did the trick for ten minutes until they were wailing again and this time with a little extra oomph.

I apologized over and over about the crying and then finally, I just stopped turning around. I even stopped checking on my husband who was shooting daggers at anyone who dare look at him handling our hulk-strong baby. I felt the glares burning a hole in the back of my head and I could hear the rude snickering about our overtired and incessently crying babies.

When we deplaned, my husband harsh-whispered that we were renting a car and making the 18-hour drive back from California to Colorado via minivan. From the look of the sweat on his forehead, he was not kidding around.

I tearfully dialed our pediatrician asking for tips on flying with babies and then as what felt was our best resort, we swung by the apple store and forked over a small fortune for the holy grail of child entertainment – an iPad.

Before you begin to judge me… It may have been our first flight with kids, but I wasn’t unprepared for the airplane ride. My diaper bag was so full it wouldn’t even close.

I had packed the snacks, I had brought the toys, I had even stashed away special treats laced with bribery. The problem? I brought all the WRONG things.

Thankfully, our trip was a one-time sucker punch and we’ve since taken a half-dozen more flights with our children and have not had any more horrendous in-flight experiences.

My preparation for air travel has evolved and involves pin-point precision that makes even the old me jealous by the time I hand over the first round of goodies.

These are my 9 tips that work like magic, especially on long flights. There is an art to the timing of delivering the goods, and your next flight will go smoothly if you follow the step-by-step tips to pulling out in-flight entertainment in this order.

1) PACK A BACKPACK FOR EACH KID

While Mom and Dad have handle their purses and carry-on luggage filled with cry-proof entertainment, your will be carrying their own. Children love to carry their own backpacks and delight in unzipping their own bags once they’re settled into the flight.

It’s exciting for kids to feel like grown-ups and they like to be in charge of carrying their own accessories.

When you first get on the plane, store the backpacks and your carry-ons and let your children get settled. Take in the surroundings, look out the window, socialize with other passengers and listen to the PA announcements.

Once the excitement of boarding the flight and getting settled has passed, THEN pull out backpacks.

Keep a few things in your child’s backpack, but the majority of snacks and entertainment in your own carry-on so that they don’t go through everything in five minutes flat and spend the rest of the flight searching for things to do.

2) ONLY PACK SUGAR-FREE SNACKS 

Bring a variety of healthy snacks for the kids to munch on during the flight. There is a time near the beginning, in the middle and at the end to hand out snacks, just don’t dish them all out before the flight has even begun.

Simple and easy to pack ideas:

  • Snack pouches & Applesauce
  • Raisins
  • Crackers & Goldfish
  • Cereal in premeasured bags
  • Dried Fruit
  • Fruit strips
  • Granola Bars

Avoid sugary snacks like candy, lollipops, and sugar-packed fruit gummies which will only energize up your kids – something you want to avoid on an airplane at all costs.

Bring milk or water bottles that meet TSA guidelines but try your best to limit water intake for fewer bathroom trips – especially if you’re a single parent traveling with multiple children who are out of diapers.

3) SURPRISE THEM WITH SMALL TOYS & ACTIVITY SETS 

You can certainly bring things from home, but it’s a fact that kids will be enthralled with new items they haven’t seen before or played with at home.

If you chose to bring toys from home, several weeks before the flight, put these items away so they aren’t played with leading up to your trip. When it’s time to open-up the backpack, these will have a new feel to them too.

Travel Tip: Stay away from noise-making toys for everyone’s sake!

4) DECORATE THE WINDOW

If you happen to book a window seat (and you should because kids love looking outside during take-off and throughout the flight), bring a couple sets of inexpensive window clings and let your kids decorate the window.

They easily peel off and can be moved around. Encourage your kids to create story lines and scenes with their imagination.

5) HIDDEN PICTURE BOOKS WORK LIKE MAGIC 

I-Spy books are great for parents and kids to do together. I-Spy books and Where’s Waldo are our favorites for traveling.

Head to the local library or buy them here and here a couple days before your trip. If there is a chance the library books will get lost and you’ll have to pay to replace them, hidden picture books are inexpensive and will continue to be cherish for many years and are worth the purchase.

6) PLAY A GAME

A simple game like hang-man, tic-tac-toe and Would You Rather are fun for kids of all ages.

Popular games often come in travel-size such connect fourtrouble and this mini magna-doodle. If your children are older, card games like Go Fish, Old Maid and UNO are great too.

7) ARTS & CRAFTS

Clear marker coloring books and Water WOW books don’t leave a mess. Sticker sets are fun to burn the time, just be sure to pack extra paper with you so the stickers don’t end up in a neighbor’s hair.

8) YOUR LAST RESORT: ELECTRONICS

Once you’ve gone through snacks, toys, books and games, then pull out the tablets and iPads which you pre-loaded before your trip with videos and age-appropriate apps.

Save the best for last but don’t pull them out too early if you can wait. Use electronics as a reward for good behavior and playing quietly on the flight.

Don’t forget to pack kid-friendly headphones so other passengers nearby don’t have to listen to the sounds of the latest Pixar movie or Frozen app on full-blast.

9) IF ALL ELSE FAILS…

If all else fails, ask the flight attendant for a stack of plastic cups for the kids to play with on the tray table. Sometimes it’s the simplest of things which work the best!

Wow Air is offering £99 flights from London to New York

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By Katie Jones for Harpers Bazaar UK

This [month], Wow Air announced the start of a new service to New York's JFK Airport - and the Icelandic airline is celebrating by offering seats for just £99 one-way.

The first flights are scheduled for April 2018, but Wow Air is currently promoting the launch of its new route by offering fares that cost less than the taxes alone.

"To celebrate our new service to the Big Apple's JFK International Airport, we are offering flights from London to New York for less than the cost of taxes - essentially paying for our guests to fly," the air carrier said.

The discounted fares can be booked online now for flights departing from London Stansted between April and May next year, although it's worth noting that there is a catch.

The new route involves a stopover in Reykjavik and the budget airline's basic approach means passengers won't be treated to the usual long-haul perks, like complimentary food, drink and entertainment. Baggage fees also apply on all routes - a carry-on bag will cost you £29.99 and a checked bag is £44.99.

New York isn't the only option in the promotion, though. It also includes flights for under £130 one-way to Newark, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit and Cleveland, and if you're planning on visiting Iceland's capital next year, Wow Air's fares are particularly cheap, starting at £29.99 one-way.

The low-cost seats are only available for a limited period, so you'll need to be quick to make the most of this deal.

When dad needs a bit of pampering at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

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From Mummy in the City

On a holiday before kids I was lying by the pool when Daddy T was headed to the spa. The last thing I told him was not to buy any products from his session, as we really didn’t need any more. He only came back with a bag full of detox cleanse tablets and a box with individually packed sachets with dried sea plants to use as bath soak.

Daddy T is a sucker for all things spa, so when I was given the opportunity to try a massage at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in Knightsbridge it was only right that he was the one who was sent out for some pampering. I booked him in for a 7.30pm massage on a weekday, allowing him to go after work and having a relaxing evening instead of coming home to the madness of bedtime routines.

While I was breastfeeding Baby Boy and reading Little Miss Bossy for Baby Girl, he arrived at the luxurious spa. He was there half an hour early, relaxing with a green tea and having time to use the sauna, steam room and vitality pool before having a 50-minute deep tissue massage by one of the expert therapists.

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park has eight treatment rooms, all with private showers, as well as male and female sanariums, vitality pools, amethyst crystal steam rooms and a zen colour therapy relaxation area.

When living in London it’s easy to forget what we have on our doorstep, but sometimes it’s worth prioritising some true holiday-style pampering. I think Daddy T’s evening at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park was well-deserved, and it’s worth doing something different to switch off in beautiful surroundings.

I’m not surprised he looked as balanced and happy after his spa experience as Baby Boy did after his day at The Baby Spa. I guess National Spa Week is the week it’s all about having a contented baby and a contented husband at the same time!

The Duchess of Cambridge's Pregnancy Has Sparked A Rise In Home Birth Enquiries

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By Olivia Blair for Elle UK

The Duchess of Cambridge is reportedly considering a home birth for royal baby number three

The Duchess of Cambridge effect shows no sign of waning. Enquiries into home births are said to be on the rise since reports circulated to suggest that she plans to give birth to her third child at Kensington Palace.

Private Midwives, the UK's largest private provider of home birth services, says it has experienced a 44% increase in enquires following the royal pregnancy confirmation in September.

Shortly after the announcement from Kensington Palace, the Daily Mail claimed that Kate was considering a home birth this time around. According to the newspaper, she had planned to do the same with the birth of her daughter Charlotte but decided against it after taking medical advice.

Despite the reports not having been confirmed by the royal family themselves, they have nevertheless spiked interest amongst expectant parents, the private midwifery practice found.

Their survey of almost 1,600 UK adults revealed that nearly a third (29%) would prefer to give birth at home, while one in five (21%) admitted to looking to royals and celebrities for pregnancy inspiration.

Linda Bryceland, director of midwifery, quality and safety at the company, said: "We've seen a definite rise in interest surrounding home births [since reports about the Duchess]. With many of the services she and other A-listers utilise becoming more readily accessible and affordable, we're seeing expectant mothers being presented with more and more options.

"As well as a rise in awareness, there is also an increase in professional career-driven women who, in the current economic climate, do not want to take time off work for antenatal appointments. Their partners also frequently struggle to get time off to attend antenatal appointments."

How a Staffing Agency Can Help

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British American Q and A in Goop.com
 

Anita Rogers, founder of household staffing agency British American, has more than a decade’s experience in pairing families with household staff, from nannies and butlers to personal assistants and estate managers. She’s earned a reputation for finding successful matches–and also for helping to handle any situation that may arise in the working household. Here, she shares her insights on why hiring for your childcare or home needs is profoundly personal, and how a staffing agency can help with the process. 


A Q&A with Anita Rogers

 

What are the upsides to using an agency?

An agency helps you determine what kind of help you really need, and devises the way in which you want your staff to fit your lifestyle. It also saves you time and keeps you safe during the interview process. Some families have limited experience interviewing and hiring childcare and household staff, which makes it easy to miss signs of danger, red flags, or dishonesty. We enforce strict standards as we interview thousands of candidates each year. This has allowed us—and other reputable agencies—to become experts at spotting dishonest references and to be able single out specific personality traits and potential challenges. A staffing agency has seen how similar traits have played out with other candidates, which lends to its ability to find the best fit for you, your family, and your household.

What are the biggest misconceptions about household staffing?

Both parties must be willing to give and take in order to find the best match. Often people think they can hire a candidate if they offer a competitive or high salary. Or if a nanny or butler has excellent experience, they might assume they can get a higher salary and an ideal schedule. But staffing is a matchmaking process, and both parties must be satisfied with the relationship and the circumstances in order for it to work.

How do you recognize good talent?

It’s a long process—and it’s so much more than just a great résumé and reference letters. We look for candidates that have a balance of experience, training, and education in their field and glowing references from past employers. Other indicators we look for include personality, attitude, flexibility, grammar, responsiveness, and confidence.

The résumé is always the first indicator of talent, where we look at formal level of experience, age appropriate childcare experience, the types of homes an individual has worked in, longevity in previous jobs, and demonstrated professionalism and willingness. We screen all résumés and references and do extensive state, federal, and international background checks, as well as a thorough screening of their social media.

What’s the secret to finding a good match between a family and nanny?

Everyone must be on the same page from the very beginning of the process. One family’s dream nanny could be another’s nightmare. It’s imperative that the candidate and the family have a similar approach to raising children, as well as complementary personalities. Someone who is really laid back isn’t going to work well in a formal home that thrives on structure. (The reverse is true as well.) The perfect nanny and family pairing has similar philosophies about discipline, education, and responsibilities. There has to be a mutual respect between the parents and the nanny regarding the decisions made concerning the child. As a parent, if you feel like you have to micromanage and instruct your nanny on how you’d like every situation handled, you will become frustrated and resentful of the situation.

One of the most important factors to consider during the process of finding a good match is assessing the needs and expectations of the family. There’s a huge difference between a parent looking for an extra set of hands to help with driving, activities, and meals and a working parent who needs someone to be the child’s primary caregiver. A take-charge, independent, problem-solving nanny with sole-charge experience isn’t going to thrive as a helper. In the same way, a nanny without the confidence to make decisions on his or her own and proactively foresee situations isn’t the best choice for a family where the parents are gone most of the day. 

Once the hiring process is done, what other support do clients typically need?

It depends upon the family. Clients will often come to us for help with communicating with their new employee, especially during the transition process while the employee settles in. We always encourage regular, open and honest communication between both parties. On occasion, we will go into the home as a “manager” and help iron out any small issues that may exist. A relationship between a family and their household employees needs to be nurtured and carefully built, as this is a private home, where discretion is of utmost importance. We encourage clear communication and a weekly sit-down between a family and staff.

If a match doesn’t work out, what is your advice for handling a potential change (or parting ways)?

We suggest that each party be gentle but honest about their feelings. The parting should be done with kindness and care so that everyone involved understands that it isn’t a personal attack, just a relationship that has outlived its potential. When hiring staff, you are creating a business in your home. I have seen people distraught if something isn’t working out because they don’t want to offend someone, they don’t want to hurt their feelings.

In certain situations, we’ll go into the residence and let the candidate go so that we can assure it’s done with delicacy. Every situation is very different. We’ve learned it’s best to never point fingers and to make everyone feel good. We directly address and try to resolve any problems, serious or minor, that are brought to our attention, and to support the client or candidate. The ending of a professional relationship can be emotional, particularly if it involves an intimate household setting, so we work to minimize any potential animosity a much as possible.

Is there a difference between a nanny and a career nanny?

Most definitely. A typical nanny is different from a career nanny in that they often have a lot of experience with families, but no background or education in child development. Other nanny candidates are great with children and may have teaching degrees or other formal education, but limited in-home experience (typically part-time babysitting work).

A career nanny is someone who has chosen childcare as his or her profession. Most often, these candidates have formal education in child development and/or psychology. This can include a college degree in education or or training from previous jobs. Career nannies also have an employment history of long-term placements in private homes, understand the dynmics of working in a home environment and are great with children. A career nanny knows how to anticipate needs, respect a family’s privacy and space, and handle the logistics of high-end homes. Being in a home is very different than working in a school or daycare; there is no way to prepare or train someone for it, it’s something you learn and understand only after having experienced it.

How have staffing agencies changed over the years?

Historically, many agencies have been run by only one or two people. Today, the amount of work it takes to verify backgrounds, interview candidates, and create and nurture relationships is impossible with such a small team. This is a time-intensive business, which is why a larger team with modernized and strict processes is essential.


Anita Rogers is the founder of British American Household Staffing (BAHS), the nation’s leading domestic staffing and childcare agency with branches in New York, Los Angeles, Palm Beach, and London. BAHS provides childcare and estate staff available in the USA and U.K. She is also the founder of Anita Rogers Gallery in SoHo, New York, and of British American Talent, based in Los Angeles, London and New York.

Feel free to contact us for any immediate permanent, temporary or seasonal staffing needs.

Giving Birth in Different Worlds

By Janet Elise Johnson for The New Yorker 

The photographs in the series “Hundred Times the Difference,” by the photographer Moa Karlberg, capture, in closeup, the faces of women in the final stages of giving birth. Across the images, there is a range of expressions: grit and sensuality, trepidation and expectation, pain and elation. But in their intimate perspective the photographs emphasize the women’s shared experience—the inward focus and physical determination in their final, transformative moments of becoming mothers.

If you look closely, though, you’ll see signs—the sterile white backgrounds in some photos and patterned fabric in others; a single acupuncture pin in the center of a forehead—that the women in Karlberg’s photographs are having drastically different experiences of giving birth. Half of the pictures were taken in Sweden and half in Tanzania. In the former country, almost all births take place in hospitals, where women have access to supportive midwives who are backed by sophisticated medical technology when needed. In Tanzania, by contrast, only half of births take place in medical facilities, and those that do often occur in places that lack even the most basic amenities.

In a statement about the project, Karlberg, a native of Sweden who travelled to Tanzania in June, with support from the International Women’s Media Foundation, describes the disparity between the scenes she witnessed in the two places. In her home country, “The woman about to give birth is lying on the public hospital’s white sheets. . . . Next to her is her husband, stroking her back, talking to her supportively, helping her to focus on her breathing. Low music comes from the speakers. Water and juice is on the table next to the height-adjustable bed. The woman has her own room and her own bathroom with a tub. Painkillers are available upon request.” In Tanzania, “the woman about to give birth is lying on a bare, rusty bunk, covered in fabrics she brought with her. The water tap is not working, and even if it was, the water would not be drinkable. If she has to urinate there is a bucket on the floor. There is no family member by her side, but three other women, on similar bunks and in various stages of labor, share the room. As they moan, the nurses tell them to be quiet. Since there are no painkillers, the women need to save their strength for the pushing in the end.” As a result of these extreme disparities, and the corresponding difference in the ability to deal with medical complications, the risk of dying during childbirth in Tanzania is a hundred times higher than it is in Sweden.

But despite this cross-national chasm in maternal health, simple explanations of the West-as-best and modernization-as-cure are insufficient. As Karlberg hints in the photo shown in the final slide above—a woman originally from Uganda, giving birth in Sweden—Sweden has experienced a wave of immigrants over the past four decades, many of them refugees from conflict-torn places like Iraq, Eritrea, Somalia, and now Syria. Though Sweden has proved more welcoming than other European nations in the current refugee crisis, the country’s government—influenced by the far-right Swedish Democrats, who received support from one out of every eight voters in the 2014 parliamentary elections—has grown more nativist and stingy about its welfare state. In Tanzania, meanwhile, maternal-mortality rates have improved slightly in recent years as the country has experienced impressive economic growth and extensive foreign aid, but the rates today are the same as they were sixty years ago. In both countries, birth attendants, who are almost all women, are underpaid and overworked.

In Karlberg’s stark photographs, these many inequities seem simultaneously highlighted and erased. Her stunning, unembellished mothers-to-be seem to triumph in ways independent of their immediate surroundings, and notwithstanding the obstacles to empowerment that extend across racial, ethnic, and national lines. Yet the obstacles remain.

See more photos at newyorker.com

 

OUR HOBBIES AND HEADSPACE ACTIVITIES THAT ALSO TRAVEL WELL

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From parentshaped

Travel can involve a lot of time sitting, and the more I do travel, the more I want to make that time count too. Sometimes of course, it is great to just look out the window and be alone with your thoughts, especially I find on trains. But other times, I think it’s nice to have something to pass the time. Double win if it also helps you to unwind.

Over the summer we decided to retreat to a fairly out of it cottage in Wales, I decided it was time for some time offline and to try and remember exactly what my hobbies were too. I’m really proud that the time I spent in Wales really helped me reconnect with myself and that lots of those activities have really stuck for me, so I thought I would share them.

YOGA

I dabbled in yoga each morning out on the grass overlooking the curious sheep and green hills. I watched the ants crawling to distract myself as I held a plank in the sun salutation. I’ve kept it up too, just a little each morning, often while I wait for the kettle to boil.  A few sun salutations and whatever poses I can remember from all the classes I have dabbled in. Yoga is the perfect antidote to travel aches and pains and the stiffness that comes with sitting still. Sometimes the kids join me, and Ive managed to teach them a few relaxation activities too, including this one of my Mum’s, to help them sleep anywhere.

In this picture they also found some natural clay and made little sculptures, nature crafts can be brilliant.

KNITTING AND CROCHET

On a whim in Wales I picked up a knitting and crochet magazine, which came with some wool and needles/hook. I have so many half finished craft projects, but this time it felt a little different, it really helped me to feel mindful of my holiday time and to relax.

First I crocheted a mandala storage box – mandalas in themselves are quite therapeutic -and suddenly felt like my crochet skills took a leap forward. Then I used some of the wool to teach L to knit which took me right back to sitting on my Gran’s knee. I’ve always felt passionate that it’s important to treasure these skills, and pass them down. It made me happy to watch L move from me guiding her, to busily clattering off a scarf for a teddy. I’m going to look out more patterns for her as she is keen to try something more complicated now. Deramores have crochet and knitting patterns to order online, I wonder if L might like the penguins and Christmas baubles.

My latest crochet project, a rainbow blanket is really growing, it’s been on our last two trips too, to North Norfolk and to stay in the Ben 10 Rust Bucket too, so I feel like it’s almost stitching together the memories of those adventures too.

PHOTOGRAPHY

I love taking photos to remember wherever we go, and I’m never happier than when I have landscapes and places to photograph. I’ve always felt a little shy taking pictures of people, but I’m learning that I love buildings, trees, fields, forests, horizons, seas and the great outdoors. Sometimes I take my big camera, other times my phone will do, but the more I take photos, the more photo opportunities I see when we travel. This was snapped on my phone in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

READING

Simple pleasures are the best. I like to ask my friends on facebook  before I go on a trip for their book recommendations and make sure my Kindle is all fired up and ready to go. I also like to indulge in some magazines and newspapers, I like to read more about how our minds work, how to be happier, books that will inspire me to improve my life while I have some extra headspace. I find in flight magazines are brilliant for more travel writing ideas too. Mum gave me this mini book of the Moomins, little books like this are great to keep in a travel bag for the kids, who always forget to bring a bedtime story.

WRITING

I try to write while things are fresh in my head, I think it is the best way with travel writing. So on planes, trains, in the car I am always tapping out notes on my phone or scribbling ideas in a notebook. It also means the writing up isn’t hanging over me when the post holiday blues set in.

CROSSWORDS

Whenever I feel stressed and in need of a holiday I am reminded of the little things my grandmothers did which seemed to give them so much headspace. Crosswords and puzzles are good when you really need the brain to totally switch off. My Grandma did one daily and was unbelievably mentally agile into her 90s, so I always mean to take a leaf out of her book. I am sure the knitting helped her too.

TRAVEL GAMES

Travel games are another way we get quality family time, magnetic ludo was a huge hit on our last trip, Yahtzee went down well on our Scottish road trip and we found a jigsaw in the cottage in Wales – long forgotten simple pleasures!

WHY YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY TAKE YOUR CHILDREN ON FOREIGN HOLIDAYS

By Helen Wills for Space in Your Case

At Space In Your Case we’re firmly committed to travelling anywhere we can with our children. After all, what would be the point of a family travel site where the editors didn’t travel, or restricted their trips to just one country? Makes no sense, right? So we were intrigued today by the Telegraph’s headline: The science behind why you should never take your children on foreign holidays.” Bold statement, we thought, let’s read that and see what this science really says; that’s going to be fascinating.

The basis for the piece is a quote by child psychologist Oliver James, who says:

“Home-based holidays are what children really want. A familiar, recurring holiday spot can sometimes be the only anchored thing in a child’s life – a safe and predictable place in a shifting universe.”

WHY FOREIGN HOLIDAYS ARE PERFECT FOR KIDS

Now we’re big fans of Dr Oliver – usually. He has talked previously of travel being an essential part of family life, an experience that allows a family to create memories and feel stronger as a unit. Sign us up to that. But on the matter of travel abroad we wholeheartedly disagree. And so, it would seem, do most of the families who have experienced a foreign holiday.

“I felt that [the article] was written about what worked best for the author and family and not from a wider angle. Whilst going to the same place every year might work for some, it’s a nightmare scenario for others (me!). I want to get out and see as much of the world with my family as possible.” Emma, A Bavarian Sojourn.

Monika, from Mum on the Brink, feels just as strongly.

“The psychologist says that young ones won’t be able to appreciate the sight and smells of Morocco. Absolutely true, they won’t appreciate it as an adult or even a rebellious teen, who’ll probably hate it if it’s their first trip abroad. A young child will soak it it up with all their senses. They will immerse in the experience more than any adult can and it will rewire their brain to accept this new as something not dangerous. Through travel with young children we help broaden our children’s perspectives.

Sure, returning to familiar places is fantastic, but only if you stop helicopter parenting and let the child explore further and further as the years go, independently. We do a mix of exotic new destinations and returning to old haunts. The new destinations give us an opportunity to discover together; the old haunts have the kids excited because they know what they want to do and where they can push the boundaries. In our case this year, they’ll be allowed to go anywhere on the large campsite on their own.”

At Space In Your Case, we’ve pushed the boundaries with our kids, just as much as we’ve stuck to tried and tested holidays, and all of us agree that whilst returning year on year to the same campsite, or cottage holds some comforts that we all appreciate – not just the kids! – exploring new horizons is just as exciting for every age. Helen’s kids love Center Parcs, and will settle in as quickly as you can say ‘mine’s a slushie,’ but each foreign trip has awakened a bigger hunger for travel, and that’s exciting, she says. Whether it’s Christmas in New York, or a lazy week in Barbados, she says the everyone’s lives are all the richer for their foreign travels. Helen’s 12 year old daughter is firmly committed now to a career in the Big Apple, having fallen in love with the pace of life there. And if her younger son has anywhere he’d like to revisit, it’s the beaches and seafood of the Caribbean.

“When we travel abroad it can definitely feel more stressful from time to time, but the children are usually the ones pushing to go somewhere new.”

WHERE’S THE SCIENCE?

Cerys wants to know where the science is behind the article:

“Any early childhood specialist will tell you that children want to explore and learn about the world but surrounded by comfort and familiarity. What better way to achieve this than exploring the world with the most important figures in their lives – their parents and even grandparents. For children to understand more about life outside of their bubble they need to experience it and with more than just a book or from tv programmes.

Even a new holiday can be familiar – if you stay in a tent every year then swap the location but keep the same tent, a villa holiday – do a villa but in a different country. If you ski, try a different resort but stick within the same area.

I believe that a lot of the time it’s not the children that feel that but the parents that are stressed about the unfamiliar and that leaves lasting impressions. It is certainly easier to return to the same area each year especially with young children. But facing your fears and journeying beyond your comfort zone is showing children how to be resilient and taking risks is ok too.”

We say hear hear. Of course familiarity feels comfortable, and there’s a place for that. But from the scientist who told us that families are brought together more closely by travel experiences, we can’t help feeling that this stance is a half measure to family happiness. Rebecca Ann agrees, and says that by taking kids out of their safe and easy spaces you’re doing them a huge favour:

“Surely showing your children how to step out of the comfort zone and try new things is part of parenting. Life is full of changes, often unexpected ones, and preparing my children for that is a big part of my role. That being said for many reasons we haven’t taken the girls too far as yet but I definitely hope to. As far and as frequently as time and finances allow. To travel is to live after all.”