Spring is just around the corner. For many families spring is a time for traveling. Although traveling by yourself can be stressful, traveling with small children can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to help keep your journeys as stress free as possible.

• Pack extra clothes. This is not just for the kids; pack an extra set of clothes for you as well. You will be glad that you did when a juice box spills all over your pants or the baby spits up all over your shirt.

• Take your time. Give yourself ample time for additional stops whether on a road trip or flying. Allowing children the opportunity to stretch their legs and run around a bit will help everyone keep their sanity in tight spaces such as a car or an airplane. Also, the last thing you want is to be running late. No one wants to have to run through an airport carrying an infant, car seat, stroller, and carry-on luggage!

• Bring medicine. Make sure that you have any prescription medications your family requires. Bringing over-the-counter medications can also be a blessing in the event someone comes down with a fever or has an allergic reaction.

Bring toys. The goal is to keep the children entertained! The types of toys can vary from rattles to tablets, depending on ages. If the child is old enough, allow them to pack their own “fun bag.” Be sure that the bag doesn’t only include loud and noisy items. It should also include some quiet activities such as their favorite books, crayons and coloring books, or an erasable magnetic sketching toy.

Involve older children in the planning process. Nothing takes the fun out of a family trip like a sulking teenager. If you can engage them in the planning process, you can increase the likelihood that they will be invested in the trip and will look forward to some aspect of it.

For more information on how to manage stress, contact your local Family Advocacy Program or Community Counseling Program.