Tips for Traveling with Children

We love to travel as a family! We were on our first family flight when my son was just 2 weeks old, having adopted him from out of state. Holding my precious new infant close to my body on an airplane was a surreal experience that I will never forget. We have since flown with him across the country (from NY to CA) and for multiple 10 hour car rides. We recently purchased an RV and looking forward to all the fun adventures awaiting us this season. Traveling can feel very expansive -the new scenery, experiences and all the learning that comes along the way. At the same time, traveling with children comes with its own set of challenges that can bring stress levels sky high. It requires lots of preparation, organization and an extra dose of grace. So let’s jump right in with some tips for making traveling with children as easeful as possible.

  1. Simplify the Itinerary.– Consider the developmental stage and age of your child(ren) when planning your trip and make modifications as needed. While a guided sightseeing tour or dinner cruise sound lovely to us, children have difficulty regulating their bodies and emotions for long periods of time and long structured activities may not be the best fit. Choose shorter excursions that have opportunities for breaks and time away as needed. Self-guided and self-paced is almost always the better choice when it comes to children. You can still visit that special monument or museum, but being realistic with what your child can handle will manage everyone’s expectations. This is not the time to push your children out of their comfort zone, all the changes associated with travel already require them to be constantly adapting. Remember it’s all new and exciting for them!
  2. Schedule Some Down Time- Often times when we travel we want to do ‘all the things’ so the trip seems “successful” to us. That said, time zone changes, lengthy time on the road without physical activity and jet lag can impact children much more than adults. Prepare to slow down and set aside some extra space for quiet time/napping or free play so everyone feels recharged and prepared for the next structured fun activity.
  3. Snacks! Overestimate the amount of snacks you will need. When we fly, each person gets their own gallon sized ziplock bag of snacks that we put in the seat back pocket for the duration of the flight. It has worked really well. Similarly, when road tripping we always pack lunches and cold snacks in a large cooler bag along with all the usual snacks. As a whole, we don’t offer lots of sugary or processed snacks so our bodies stay as hydrated and strong as possible. Some snack suggestions include: nuts or trail mix, small boxes of raisins, dates and apricots, chickpea or lentil pasta, cut up cucumbers, sweet peppers, olives, grapes, mango, avocado with hemp seeds, whole fruit such as bananas, apples and clementines, and small bags of cookies, crackers, chips, pretzels, natural fruit snacks, applesauce pouches and lollipops if on an airplane ride.
  4. Travel Games and Toys- Before an especially long trip I will often purchase a few new travel toys and activities that can be introduced periodically over the course of the trip. For more general trips I will pack a special travel bag of activities and games and allow my son to choose some of his own items to pack along so he has ownership and feels included. There are a variety of items to choose from, but some of our favorites include:
  5. Involve your child in the planning.– Obviously the big decisions will be made by the adults, but as much as possible share the planning process with your child. Show them a map of where you will be traveling. Look at websites for hotels, campgrounds, or special attractions you will be visiting together. Use YouTube as a tool to show them what to expect. This both helps prepare your child by making the abstract seem much more real, while also getting them excited for what’s to come. Don’t worry about “spoiling the surprise” for them. Most children require some amount of mental preparation as the whole experience is new and can be overwhelming. If your child will be flying for the first time, borrow books from the library about airplanes and airports. There are a few excellent videos on YouTube that show exactly what the inside of the plane looks like. As they process all of this new information, lots of questions will arise, sparking great conversations.
  6. Don’t Forget Comfort Items- Whatever age, make sure to pack up familiar and comforting items from home. Little touches like a favorite stuffed animal, night light, pillow case, books, or small toys can help your child acclimate faster to their new surroundings. While you’re at it, consider extra comfy travel clothing and blankets to make everyone feel more at ease.

    Happy Travels- have fun making memories!!

Peace to All, Life to All, Love to All- Sat Nam

How to Keep the Family Healthy This Fall

The days are shorter, the nights cooler and we are all starting to settle into our new Fall rituals and rhythms. Along with that may come some more time indoors, slowing down and eating heavier foods. We might notice more sniffles around us and the kids are coming home with colds/flus are some other viral expression. Here’s a quick list of simple things that we can incorporate into our lives to help our families stay healthy as we head into this slower time.

  1. Bring in more fresh fruit and veggies. We tend to be drawn into warmer and richer foods as the days get cooler. It’s definitely much harder for me to drink smoothies on a cold morning or be excited about a salad after a brisk walk outdoors. We are not striving for perfection here, but awareness. Find what’s seasonal in your area and load up. If you are able to get in raw food, do it. If cooked food feels better for your body, go that route. Listen deeply and do what you can. Apples and pears and squashes are abundant this time of year around the NY area where I live. So I start there. Get as much in as you can every day- every bit helps.
  2. Utilize warming and immune boosting spices in your recipes. Garlic, ginger, cayenne, cinnamon and clove are all beautifully healing. They can boost flavor and warm up a dish on a cool day. They are antiviral, antibacterial and anti parasitic. Consider how you can bring them into more meals to give your immune system some extra loving support.
  3. Stay hydrated with living water and fresh juices. Hydration is important all year long and the colder weather is no exception. Our sinuses and airways dry out from indoor heat making it the perfect home for viruses to linger. Keep that juicer out and juice up some hydrating combos such as apple, cucumber, celery. Plain cucumber juice is a favorite of ours to get some great hydration in fast. No juicer? No problem. Lemon water, aloe water and cucumber water are all excellent ways to boost your daily water into something extraordinarily hydrating. Add a little bit into your glass and enjoy! A favorite drink in our home is maple lemon water. It’s a little sweet, a little sour and gets all the healing properties of glucose in as well.
  4. Pass the salt…. inhaler that is. Salt inhalers are a great way to kill viruses in our sinuses. They are easy to travel with so we can use them often. Use it after spending any amount of time in a public space, public transport or large gathering for optimal health. I really like keeping this salt inhaler in my bag all the time.
  5. Silver spray. Sovereign silver can be ingested or used topically for immune support. Everyone in our household uses both of these as a preventative and also to treat the first signs of illness. Use the nose spray in combination with the throat spray to shorten the length of your cold.
  6. Let’s do shots. Mix up a round of ginger, garlic, and turmeric shots. Freeze them in some Souper cubes and you will have an amazing natural tool at your fingertips for whenever you start to feel run down. Check out the recipe here
  7. Zinc Shock Therapy and Vitamin C Shock Therapy. Medical medium shared these powerful therapies to give our immune system the best chance at knocking out a bug. Both are easy enough to even give to children. Here is the recipe for zinc shock therapy and for vitamin C shock therapy.
  8. Get Outside. Fresh air, sunshine and movement can do wonders. Even if all you do is stand on your porch for 10 minutes, you will be giving your body a tremendous gift. Our homes are meant to shelter our bodies but our bodies are not built to remain indoors all the time.
  9. Move your lymph. Our lymphatic system is responsible for moving waste, such as bacteria, viruses and toxins, out of our bodies. Yoga, dry brushing, lymphatic drainage massage and rebounding are all gentle ways to keep that lymph flowing.

Cruising Into Health

IMG_8885How a Vegan Cruise opened my heart and nourished my soul!

It’s been a really long time since I’ve blogged, but I had to share my experience of The Holistic Holiday At Sea, Vegan Cruise aboard the MSC Divina.  Living a plant based lifestyle, I’m always very careful about how I travel and it normally means a tremendous amount of preparation, packing and research.  I had heard about this cruise for years, but this year just seemed right.  For me, this cruise worked on so many levels. Gifting me with the most up to date and scientifically proven knowledge from speakers like Drs. T Colin Campbell, Neal Barnard, Michael Greger and more- these are the superstars of the plant based movement!!! Then there were the animal advocacy speakers and researchers like Dr. Jonathan Balcombe, James Aspey, Gene Bauer, and Ingrid Newkirk.  I know I’m doing a lot of name dropping here, but being in their presence was an absolute inspiration!  On top of all of this, we got fed the most delicious, clean and nourishing food (without any of the prep work)- oh and did I mention we were in the Caribbean with 2000 other vegans!!

I am now signed up to do this vegan cruise again next year (yippee).  The support, love and encouragement of community was beyond what I ever expected.  It was 10 days of self care and life giving expansion.