Spring Break – or as some are calling it “Mid-winter” Break is coming up soon & getting organized ahead of time can make the difference between a fun week and a week that leaves you wanting to tear your hair out.
Here are some tips whether you are opting for a ‘stay cation’ or time away:
If you’re staying at home, it’s a good idea to plan some outings to avoid both the kids & yourselves going stir-crazy.
- Spring break is an excellent opportunity to get the kids on skis.
- If you’re in the West Island, Rigaud is a fantastic option. It takes our family 45 minutes garage to slope and the instructors are great. If heading up north makes more sense for you, try Belle Neige- it also has a great reputation for 1st time learners. That said, a little research will reveal that many of the hills have great ski school programs.
- Consider scheduling private or semi-private lessons (considered semi when 2-3 siblings share an instructor). We did & were shocked at how quickly the kids picked it up…I’ll write more about the experience in a separate post 🙂
- Some other great outdoor activities to keep you busy are snowshoeing, skating, tobogganing, TUBING – OMG, our family LOVES Tubing & our favourite place is at Glissades des Pays d’en Haut.
- As for indoor activities: Try skating at Atrium 2000, a movie matinée, indoor mini-putt (The Putting Edge is fantastic) , bowling or a visit to the Biodome or Ecomuseum. Remember to call ahead for daytime hours on weekdays.
- Check out the montrealmom.com calendar (updated weekly) for other ideas!
- Remember to schedule at least 1-2 pajama days where the kids can stay home & just “be”. They need that kind of down time more than we realize…
- At home, you can always do puzzles and crafts. For older kids, they can try needlepoint or rug-hooking- Mine love it!
If you’re going away, here are some tips:
- Bring along Safety Tats or name & number stickers with essential info: pick what works best for your kids, but good to use at least one of these. Remember to include allergy or essential health info if your child doesn’t wear a medicalert bracelet.
- Do a car seat check. Although we should check on a regular basis, we should definitely check before a trip. You can get this done at Canadian Tire – You can also ask them to install your car seat for you, if you are concerned- For $9.99, they will do so happily & professionally, giving you peace of mind.
- Car seat transport by plane: If sending the seat ‘under’ the plane: you can always use the wrapping machine at the airport but alternatively, bring the box the car seat came in plus a tape gun to the airport. Once in the airport, pack the car seat, tape the box & pack the tape gun into a suitcase BEFORE you send it onto the conveyor. Upon arrival, use a key to split the tape open. If travelling somewhere warm, remember to tighten the seat belts to fit WITHOUT the winter jacket.
- If you have multiple children, bring a set of brightly coloured matching t-shirts as well as sweatshirts for all of them so that you can spot them easily in crowded areas. (This tip applies when at home or away!)
- If your family doesn’t already have a code word, develop one now so that if your child is lost & someone approaches them & says I will take you to your parents, they can only do so if they know the code word. (Also applies at home!)
- Explain to the kids who they can ask for help if they get lost – in an airport, in a mall, at an amusement park. When you enter a new ‘zone’ show your children the name tags/badges indicating who is an employee of the airport, store or amusement park.
Convenience & comfort on the road:
- Disposable Toilet seat covers: A lifesaver on road trips as well as in airports & super convenient when using public restrooms anywhere- not just for the kids- Moms love them too! (available at Totstuff.ca)
- Disposable bibs & table toppers (also from Totstuff)
- Paper Towels: I like Bounty Select-a-size (they’ll last longer because you only take what you need)- Use them to wipe up spills and can double as napkins.
- Baby Wipes: Whether or not there are diapers to change- these can clean up sticky hands, messes & more! My preference: Pampers sensitive/perfume-free – When we use them to wipe our mouths after eating – I prefer not to taste ‘baby fresh’!
- Large Ziplocs or Glad Bags: For everything from soiled clothing to garbage to….vomit. Leave home with an entire box…They will get used!
- GIANT Zipper seal bags for soiled clothing along the way or for wet bathing suits / towels after that last minute run to the pool before heading back home.
- Travelling by car? Add these to your list:
- Febreeze!!!! Smelly things happen on a road trip with kids…You will be grateful. I recently discovered the small Febreeze car vent clips thanks to my involvement as a #PGMom – they’re great!
- Foldable port-a-potty – ( just clip in a plastic bag & your child can ‘go’ anywhere.) You may laugh but this can be an absolute livesaver, especially if you have girls and are not going to make it to the next rest area. Just keep a supply of plastic bags in the car.
Keeping the kids entertained:
- Travelling is one of the events where I believe in putting screen time to good use 🙂
- Portable DVD players, iPads, etc can keep the kids entertained with movies.
- iPod /iPad apps or handheld video games can keep them busy for extended petiods of time. I don’t recommend doing this all the time, but I’d call travel “EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCE!” 😉 (Remember to put on airplane mode, if traveling by air)
- HEADPHONES – I prefer these over earbuds for kids.
- Cards, Card games, mini travel games as well as “Brain Quest” Q&A cards.
- Books- Paper or electronic. The advantage of electronic being that they aren’t heavy & cumbersome to travel with.
- Doodle Books, Colouring Books & Puzzle books (Sudoku, etc.)
- Nothing sticky, choking hazards
- We like dry things that can easily be vacuumed: Crackers, Pretzels, etc.
- Cheese sticks, GoGo Squeeze applesauce are good too if you trust your kids not to grind into seats & carpets or squeeze all over the car.
- Garbage disposal of some sort in the car (can be a Ziploc bag that you keep in the front seat & pass back as needed.
- Cooler between seats to hold snacks
- Snack bucket for the day – give each kid or each 2 kids a basket full of snacks for the day – gives them something to look forward to
- Instill a You-Pack- You-Carry principle (for planes & day trips)
- Snack trays for inside the car can also be fun. Alternatively, use large plastic food storage containers.
Fun things that make life easier:
- The awesome tray I found at Michael’s: $9.99 – Kids can use it to eat, colour, play & store their stuff while ‘on the road’
- Sunscreen sticks make facial application a breeze and don’t take up much space.
- K-Way jackets & knapsacks: Great because they fold up into small pouches but are there if you need them. (Remember that the knapsacks are designed to carry light loads – not heavy books, etc).
- Fanny packs are great ways for kids to carry their own sunscreen sticks, lip balm & sunglasses
- Neck Pillows: Kids love them & they’re comfy too 🙂
- The Sit or Squat App that lets you know where the nearest decent restroom is!
- Alternatively: The Cross Canada Bathroom Map can also be a useful resource 😉
- GPS…Need I elaborate?
- Doing Disney? Check out my tips for that by clicking here.
- Check out the Pre-Trip Checklist before you travel
- How to Avoid Roaming Fees while traveling to the US
Want to watch the segment that goes with this post on Breakfast Television Montreal?
Click right here!
Hope you found this helpful 🙂
Wishing you a wonderful week!