When my daughter was about 12 months old we went on a long summer trip and took quite a few plane flights. If I was lucky my daughter would sleep, but if not, she would be restless and frustrated because she couldn’t get down and crawl. I had a big bag of toys to try and keep her entertained but she never seemed that interested in them.
On this occasion, she was sitting on my lap. I pulled my cardigan over me to keep warm, and she grabbed it, threw it onto the floor and laughed. It became a game. I would make a big deal out of trying to put my cardigan over me, then she would pull it away, and delightedly throw it onto the floor. We played it over and over again, as she laughed and laughed. Then we enjoyed the rest of the flights as she sat contently on my lap, playing with a plastic cup.
When we travelled a lot by public transport, and when I saw her looking a bit bored and listless in her buggy I try to initiate a quick playlistening session with her. It could be tossing around her socks, and being surprised where they land, or begging her not to throw her toy onto the floor. The laughter helped us both to relax, and gave me more patience, so I wasn’t just focused on getting to our destination, but also enjoying these little moments of connection along the way.
Playlistening is any kind of play where are child laughs while we are in the less powerful role. It can help our child to release stress and frustration that can be common while travelling.
When we go on a journey we may focus on the ‘things’ we need to entertain our baby or toddler but often what they actually need most is a warm relaxed connection with us. If you are travelling this summer be sure to pack some playlistening games in your suitcase!
To find out more about playlistening read my post Giggle Parenting: The Best ‘Discipline’ Tool Out There!