This year has been our last one before S begins big school. We’ve tried to make the most of our days off during this year, with Wednesdays becoming adventure days whenever possible. Hopefully the summer weather will buck its ideas up and we can include some days at the beach and maybe even trips to places further afield.
I don’t drive, so travelling anywhere with S usually involves public transport. When she was smaller, public transport was much easier: I could keep her in one place fairly easily; she could fall asleep in the buggy; when she was very small, I could always just rely on breastfeeding to keep her happy/asleep! Now she’s four… not so much!
Asda have come up with their top tips for travelling with kids this summer, which is an interesting read.
Here are some of my top tips for traveling with children on public transport this summer:
- Research train stations beforehand, especially if it’s a station where you’ll need to change for another train. Is there a sloped underpass to get you to the other platform, or do you need to figure out where the lift will be?
- If you’re travelling on a train with a buggy and your child is in it, speak to the guard on the train. He/she can call ahead to your destination and have them bring out a ramp so you can get off without catapulting your child across the platform.
- If you’re going on the bus, no matter the size of your child, take them out of the buggy and collapse it. You can shove it in the luggage rack and take your child to the back of the bus or upstairs – then they have a better view of the scenery outside, without getting clouted about the head by other passengers’ shopping and suchlike.
- However you’re travelling, try to avoid it being a mad rush. If you have to change trains, try to choose a later connection so that you’re not trying to run through a station with child in tow. This is an especially clever thing to do if it’s an unfamiliar station and you’re not sure where you’re going.
- Be nice to staff. Whether it’s on the bus, in the train station or on the train, if you’re nice to them they will be nice to you. Once in London a member of TFL staff carried S’s buggy up eleventy flights of stairs for me from the tube.
- If your child doesn’t suffer with travel sickness, try to arrange your travel for a time when you can have a little picnic on the bus or train. You can kill a huge amount of time during a journey if you hand out sandwiches and crisps slowly!
- By all means, bring a tablet or electronic game – but bring headphones too, or you’ll be that family on the train.
- Avoid the quiet carriage at all costs. Don’t kid yourself; even the quietest child is not quiet in the quiet carriage. The law of the sod will prevail.
- Spot anything you can from the window. Cows and tractors are always a hit with us but we’ll also point out dogs, sheep, people in hats, lorries, big houses, flowers… it depends on how desperate mummy is getting to distract S!
- Plan ahead – for every eventuality! Always bring baby wipes, no matter how old your child is. I bring an empty carrier bag, in case there’s a vomiting incident, and while S was still toilet training, I brought a spare pair of pull-up pants so that if she was desperate for a wee we could pop those on rather than either deal with train toilets or have to get off the bus to find a toilet.
- If we’re going somewhere I’ve not taken her before, I try to get some tourist leaflets about the place so we can begin to plan what we’ll do when we get off the bus or train.
- Talk about what stage of the journey you’re at. Whenever we pass a new town or station we talk about how many we have to go through before we get to our destination. This helps to pass the journey but also prepares your child for when it’s time to get up.
- Talking of time to leave, it helps to be prepared really early. On a train, we’re usually the first up so that we’re by the door and first out so we can avoid pushing and shoving. Conversely, on the bus we stay put until the bus has stopped so as to avoid falling over. We’re usually last off!
We still have several weeks left before S starts school, so we’re planning more adventures. If you have tips to help us on our way (especially in London as we’re hoping to head up there for the day soon) do please leave a comment!