Summer Travel - The Montessori Way
Are you looking forward to traveling this summer as a family? How do you maintain Montessori principles when you’re not at home? We have some tips!
Get your child involved in the process before you leave. Have a conversation about your trip – where you are going, how you are getting there, the kind of weather you expect, who you are visiting, and what activities are planned. If they are not seasoned travelers, giving them an idea of what they can expect will help them explore new environments comfortably and adjust to changes more quickly. If you can find a travel book about your destination, it may be exciting for your child to view some pictures, then compare it to what they see when they get there.
Provide a small rolling bag or backpack, and make a game of packing their personal items together! Have them pick out a special toy or stuffed animal to bring along. Count how many days you will be away, and have them select the appropriate number of outfits. They can help fold and pack their own clothes.
Bring along a bag of activities! Whether you’re in a car or on a plane or train, at some point, they will require some stimulation. Have some of their favorite books or toys on hand because comfort items can help them manage not adhering to their normal routine. Pack small magnetic games, soft play sets, coloring books, a set of binoculars, or a child-friendly camera. Consider what you may want with you during the travel portion of your trip and what you can pack in your main luggage to have when you get where you're going.
Don’t forget the snacks! It can be a fun pre-trip activity to build a “tackle box” of healthy treats together. Use a food-safe container with adjustable sections and fill with fruit snacks, crackers, or trail mix. You may consider including one or two goodies they don’t ordinarily have at home as a special travel treat. And bonus fun: you and your child can decorate the box with stickers spelling out their name!
If your trip includes getting on a plane, don’t forget to pack lollipops or fruit melts to help equalize little ears during ascents and descents. And if you plan to be away from home for more than a couple days, you may want to bring child-sized utensils or cups to help maintain a normal eating practice.
Remember that children are creatures of habit, and your Montessori child’s sense of safety is rooted in routine, so traveling may present some big feelings. Maintaining parts of your schedule – like following the same process when getting ready for bed – can provide the predictability they need to avoid overstimulation. Pack your empathy and try to remain flexible. Happy summer travels!