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10 vital tips on travelling with a strong willed child 

Travelling with strong-willed child can be challenging, but with proper planning and strategies, it is possible to have a smooth and enjoyable trip. Here are some tips to help you navigate travelling with strong-willed kids:

1.  Involve the child in the planning process:

Involve your little one in the planning process. Ask them about what they would like to do and see on the trip. This can help them feel like they have some control over the situation. Let your kids have a say in choosing the destination, activities, and accommodations. By giving them a sense of control, they are more likely to feel invested in the trip and be cooperative.

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2. Set clear expectations and boundaries: 

Give your child some space. If you are travelling as a family, make sure your child has some alone time or quiet time to themselves. Before the trip, have a discussion with your kids about behavior expectations and consequences for misbehavior. Set clear rules about safety, respect for others, and following instructions.

3. Offer choices within limits: 

Set clear boundaries and expectations. Explain the dos and don’ts of travelling and make sure your little one understands them before you leave. Strong-willed children often resist being told what to do, so provide them with options whenever possible. For example, give them a choice between two activities or let them select their snacks for the journey. However, be sure to set limits and only offer choices that are acceptable to you.

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4. Keep them engaged: 

Use positive reinforcement. Praise your child when they exhibit good behavior and reinforce it throughout the trip. Plan a mix of activities that your child will find interesting. This can include visits to child-friendly attractions, playgrounds, or nature walks. Avoid long periods of downtime or waiting, as this can lead to restlessness and frustration.

5. Provide structure and routine: 

Keep them busy. Bring activities such as coloring books, puzzles, and electronic games to keep them entertained during downtime. Strong-willed kids often thrive with structure, so try to maintain some semblance of routine during your travels. Stick to regular meal times, bedtimes, and other familiar routines as much as possible.

Children playing in Riwai

6. Allow for downtime: 

Be patient. Travelling can be stressful, so try to keep your cool and be patient with your little one if they are acting out. Even though strong-willed kids may resist relaxation, it’s essential to include downtime in your itinerary. This allows them to recharge and prevents burnout or meltdowns. Find a balance between structured activities and free time.

7. Offer incentives and rewards: 

Provide choices. Giving your child choices, such as where to eat or what activity they would like to do next, can help them feel more in control and reduce power struggles. Consider using a reward system to motivate your child during the trip. Whether it’s earning points for good behavior or small treats for cooperation, positive reinforcement can help keep them engaged and focused.

8. Maintain open communication: 

Stay consistent. If you have rules that you enforce at home, make sure to enforce them on the trip as well. This will help your child understand that the rules still apply even when travelling. Encourage your child to express their feelings and concerns throughout the trip. By actively listening and addressing their needs, you can help prevent potential conflicts.

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Child carrying a Kilta

9. Be patient and flexible: 

Allow room for compromise. If your child is adamant about doing something that you are not comfortable with, try to find a compromise that works for both of you. Understand that strong-willed kids may require additional time and patience. Be flexible with your plans, and try to accommodate their preferences within reason. Remember to stay calm and model respectful behavior, even during challenging moments.

10. Take breaks when needed:

If tensions rise or your child becomes overwhelmed, take breaks and step away from the situation. Find a peaceful spot to regroup and calm down before continuing with your travels. Have fun! Remember that travelling should be enjoyable for everyone, so try to focus on the positive aspects of the trip and have fun as a family.

Remember that every child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It’s important to tailor these tips to suit your child’s individual needs and personality. With patience, understanding, and strategic planning, travelling with strong-willed kids can become an enjoyable and rewarding experience for the whole family.

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