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5 hacks for stress-free train travel with kids

5 hacks for stress-free train travel with kids by Vibhu & Me
Traveling is healing. When we travel to distant places, we steal some time from our busy lives and enjoy the newness of the surrounding. When we travel to our close ones and relatives, we prove their value in our lives. With joining them at their house during festivals and celebrations, we contribute our feelings and love. All this is happy Bollywood movie until a kid in the middle of the journey breaks your heart with his/her tantrums. Travelling with kids, especially kids of 2 to 10 years, is tough. I know it as I train travel a lot. And ever since my son has joined the family, he gives me and my husband, patience tests during our journies. My family lives in Delhi as both, we husband-wife, work here. Our hometown is 600 kms distant from Delhi and we mostly train travel to be there on festivals and special occasions. Other than two big festivals Diwali and Holi, we also plan a travel based on our leaves. So, if we see a long weekend, we plan to travel to either our hometown or to any other place around.

I am train-travelling with my son ever since he was only two and half months old. Until he reaches one, everything was okay, at least manageable. Once he cried so much during our overnight journey that one of the co-passengers started cribbing. My husband had a short argument with that person as he was trying so hard to confront our badly crying son. Soon my boys entered toddlerhood and sitting quietly in the train was impossible for him. He needed something stay hooked upon. And then I started thinking about adding more points in our travel plans. Ways to keep him busy during our long 10-hour journey. We also did air travel a few times. Although, those were shorter (3-hour journey), keeping him engaged was still my goal. It's been more than 3 years now and I am close to skilled in managing him throughout the journey by train. Based on my own experiences, here are a few tips for the parents to make their train travel stress free:

1. Separate bag for kids: I always carry a separate bag for my son. All kid essentials like diapers, wipes, baby products, feeding bottles, medicines and clothes go in his bag. I rarely pack his clothes or other things in my bag. Everything that he needs and owns, except eatables, goes in a single separate bag. This way I always know, if I need anything while travelling, I would be able to find that quickly. The separate bag also helps in placing the bags in the coach. I prefer keeping my son's bag close to the seat.

2. Pack for all weathers: I am not saying you pack N number of winter wears even when you are travelling in summers. But pack at least one. Once we were on the train and during the wee hours, the AC of the train started freezing people. The attendant was missing and for kids, the temperature was too low. Thankfully, I had a woollen set packed for my son. I quickly made him wear that. That mindful packing saved our son from getting caught by that extremely low temperature. Similarly, I carry his raincoat as well. These Extras take a little space of your suitcase but can prove their importance in emergency situations.

3. Snacks are very important: So far, I have seen a pattern of my boy's behaviour inside the train. He wants to sit close to the window so that he could see outside. And he wants to eat something while he is looking outside and asking questions to us. That's why, my husband, always makes sure to pack healthy and good snacks/refreshments for him. We also share with him, what are his favourite snacks we are carrying. This way he himself asks us whenever he wants to have his Frooti/fruits/chocolate/Puri/Pedas(his favourite sweet)/Biscuits. Food keeps the kids' energy up and helps prevent meltdowns in stressful travel situations.
5 hacks for stress-free train travel with kids by Vibhu & Me

4. Keeping kids happy and busy: Now, other than eating, kids need something that can keep them busy during the journey. I secretly pack books, colouring sheets and games for my son. Depending on the situation, I pull out one such thing. My husband intentionally makes our tot sit near the window. He keeps asking us questions, as he gets many queries in his inquisitive mind. This question-answer session also keeps him occupied. And when nothing works, I give him my phone with internet off. He plays the games that are already downloaded. With internet on, he keeps changing his mood and demands YouTube and other stuff. So, cell phone with no internet works best for us. Based on kid's liking, parents can pack a few books, toys or games. That usually buys a good amount of time for parents. And a little screen time is okay when needed.

5. New Stories: Our boy is a story lover and this also makes our travel easy. My husband and I keep telling him new stories. We make stories on where we are heading. We share with him why we are going and what we would be doing there. We try to develop his excitement for the place where we go. I feel, talking to kids let parents aware of their feelings and thoughts. And accordingly, parents can take action. The best part of train travel in Indian is friendly co-passengers (mostly). When a kid is in the coach, who is friendly, people automatically start talking to the kid. With almighty's grace, my son is a jolly and friendly child. He easily gets mingled up with new people. So, during our train travel, we often meet co-passengers who help us in keeping the kid entertained. This is such a beauty of train travel in our country.

I always believe if parents are involved with kids during the travel, kids create fewer problems. They should not feel isolated and alone. Also, they should not feel hungry and tired too as this also bring fussiness in kids. When you notice, kids getting irritated or not enjoying their games, ask them if they want to eat something or take some rest. And please be ready for unexpected. Because at times, regardless of the all the planning, packing and snacks, there may be a time that you just have to tune out the tears. However, if you are your family are safe during the travel, everything can be managed. Tantrums too.

Just plan and execute wisely. Keep a check on tantrums, boredom and bickering during the travel. And you along with your kids will be able to enjoy the travel thoroughly. Don't forget to capture the memories of travel. When kids are grown up, these memories give them a warm feeling about the childhood.

This post is for #MONDAYMOMMYMOMENTS and is linked with Deepa and Amrita
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Comments

  1. I connect with you on almost all the points, travelling is fun with little organizing and some pre planning. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes with some planning & careful execution, we can make trips with kids a lot more fun.

      Delete
  2. I agree that when kids are hungry they create frizziness and irritate all. I always take all their favourite snacks.

    ReplyDelete

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