Travel Tips: Three Must-Have Items For Trips With The Kids

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  As every parent knows, the one thing every kid can be depended on to not do is sit still for extended lengths of time. But there are some occasions where it's just unavoidable - most notably, long car or plane trips. We've taken Henry all over the country in his two years, up and down both coasts by plane, train and automobile, and these are our family must-packs for keeping the little man in some kind of tolerable state for the duration. Portable DVD player. Yes, I know, television is making our children into mindless zombies obsessed with consuming high fructose corn syrup in record quantities - or is it? Recent studies show that children who are exposed to television in moderate amounts have absolutely no meaningful learning or behavioral differences from those that aren't. This isn't carte blanche to park the sprout in front of Pokemon for six hours, but if you need to pin them down, the groove tube does the trick. We bring DVDs of the classic 70s Sesame Street collections as well as Yo Gabba Gabba. If you're in a place where you can't use the speakers, tell your kid that it's quiet time and softly talk about what's happening on screen with them. A "new" toy. This can either be an actual new toy or just something that you've taken out of the rotation for a few weeks. Keep this completely hidden until you need it, when your kid is just about to snap under the boredom, and produce it with a flourish. This doesn't have to be anything complicated or expensive - we've had plenty of luck with action figures from the dollar store. It's more the surprise that a new toy can just come from nowhere that can carry your kid through another hour or so. Lollipop. Yes, I am recommending that you use sugar to placate your child. Trader Joe's makes a great all-natural lollipop with fruit sugars that is reasonably innocuous nutritionwise. This is essentially the thermonuclear option when we're traveling - I defy you to find a kid that can throw a tantrum through a strawberry lollipop. As opposed to other forms of candy, your kid is basically forced to eat it slowly (you should keep an eye on them to make sure they don't bite it), and when they're done it's a good opportunity to wash hands and brush teeth.

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