Travel with the kids? Planning can make it enjoyable, says Brigid Cortright, director of Catholic University of America's Children's Education Center.
Mrs. Cortright, who has six children and three stepchildren, recalls trips made when at least five of them were under seven. "With careful planning, it can be fun," she says.She advises parents to tell the children where they're going, what they'll see and how long they'll be gone. Tell them what to expect when traveling by public transporation or eating in restaurants. Coach them to talk with new people, shaking hands and introducing themselves. Tell them what to look for at attractions and move them through quickly; even young children will enjoy museums if they aren't expected to linger at each exhibit.
If you're driving, start out at about 4 a.m. Most children will sleep for the first four hours of a trip. Break up travel by stopping for a few hours to visit friends or unwind in a park. Make a list of essentials, toys or other amusements to take with you so you don't have to buy them on the road.
She also advises getting a recommendation for a pediatrician at your destination, especially if you're traveling abroad. Your own doctor and the American Academny of Pediatricians are good sources.