Pouting. Whining. Complaining. Sulking. Few behaviors bring the fun of family vacations to a screeching halt as quickly. Yet, during travels with children, these negative behaviors happen, especially when kids find themselves in unfamiliar surroundings and situations.
When it comes to fun travel for kids, how can you move past these difficult moments? Check out these tips for traveling with kids.
Why It Happens
Whining and complaining represent ways for young children to express their anger, frustration, displeasure, and even anxiety. When kids step outside of their comfort zones in a travel situation, these moods often get triggered.
Why? Because kids feel out of control and anxious when exposed to unfamiliar surroundings and cultural situations. They may prove genuinely annoyed by some of the inconveniences of travel, too. But they lack the skills to communicate these feelings in an appropriate, positive way. After all, a long, uncomfortable plane flight can turn even the most composed adult into an angry, raging passenger.
Travel, especially unplugged, comes with the welcomed potential for creating bored kids. And if there’s one thing kids love to complain about, it’s boredom. Technology has disconnected many kids from their innate sense of curiosity and imagination. They’re used to shutting off their brains and getting passively entertained by screens.
This passive stimulation is terrible for developing brains. Truth be told, boredom remains an essential stimulus of epiphanies, discoveries, and “aha” moments. After all, if Sir Isaac Newton hadn’t taken the time to sit under an apple tree doing absolutely nothing, he would’ve never discovered gravity! So, kids need to learn how to embrace unscheduled downtime with gusto. Travel helps them do this, but they may complain bitterly while figuring it out.
How to Break the Cycle
Most children come to realize that negative behaviors get them nowhere and move past them on their own. They replace pouting and moaning with healthy forms of communication and coping. But that’s not always the case.
As long as kids get a reaction from this behavior, they’ll continue to do it. Put another way, children behave in certain ways to get their needs met. As long as they get those needs met through pouting, tantrums, or complaining, why stop?
Instead of appeasing kids when they act out, we need to guide them to use their words. It’s our job to help them find better ways to express their frustrations and anxieties.
This means creating an environment where they can safely speak their minds, no matter what’s bothering them. Remember, kids often act out negatively when they perceive an environment as an unsafe place for open communication. Constructive verbal communication remains at the heart of ending the negative cycle of complaining, whining, and pouting.
Kids must also learn to accept that boredom’s okay. Downtime represents a golden opportunity to explore the world and try new things. This may be as simple as getting outdoors for a walk or creating an impromptu craft. Unstructured play is great for kids, and they need more of it!
Travels with Children
When you’ve invested in a family dream vacation and the complaints start rolling in, you may feel angry. Or, you may think that your kids are ungrateful or even spoiled. But instead of lashing out, find a constructive way to help them handle what’s really bothering them. That means assisting them in finding the words they need to express themselves.
Make sure you create a safe space for kids to communicate their anxieties, concerns, and feelings. After all, what appears like a visit to paradise for you might seem genuinely scary to your little ones. Of course, the sheer act of traveling will help them overcome many of these worries. And as they build their confidence through travel, their anxieties will diminish.
Raising Resilient Kids
In the midst of travels with children, think about complaints, whining, and pouting as opportunities to work on authentic communication and self-expression. Your kids will thank you later, and you’ll cultivate lifelong travel partners in the process!
We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its people, and its cultures. Contact us today to learn more about the unforgettable experiences that we handcraft to introduce kids to the world and create better global citizens.