This article is provided by Gifted Healthcare
Travel nursing allows us to experience the freedom of living on the road. That sounds so liberating until you add a stroller that won’t ever fold right, bickering in the backseat about who’s turn it is to pick music and a tired husband who can’t get the GPS to work. Traveling with a family can feel like a real-life Griswold adventure. While I can’t tell you how to properly install that giant “foldable” car seat, here are some tips on travel nursing with the whole family.
1. Talk about the change early and often
Once you get bitten by the travel bug, bring it up with your partner or children. People do best when they have ample time to consider a new idea. It allows family members to ask questions about the transition, feels more in control of their surroundings, and feel like they’re part of the decision making process.
2. Help make a family packing list
As a kid, my parents let my 8-year-old brother pack his own suitcase before a week-long trip to Florida. When we arrived, he opened his bag to reveal 1 stained t-shirt, a teddy bear, half a bottle of orange soda, and my dad’s toothbrush. Needless to say, he nailed it. After a quick trip to the store, my mom vowed to always write out a list of what we would need on any trip. Traveling away from home for an extended period of time can seem really scary. By having a conversation with your kids about what items they will need, you help them break down a big task into smaller, easy to handle goals and tasks.
3. Communicate about the fun things to do at your destination
If there’s one thing I never want to hear again is the whiny chorus of “I’m bored!” If your child is anything like you, they probably get excited about trying new things. Before you pack the car, show your kiddo some photos of your destination city. Are you near any big landmarks or playgrounds? Is there a totally awesome museum or trampoline park near your housing or assignment? Younger kids especially will respond to visual images of the fun they can have on the road. Showing where they’re traveling on a map can be fun for all aspiring wanderers.
4. Find your tribe!
Raising kids can feel like a full time job, especially if you’re adjusting to new schedules, co-workers, and charting procedures. Websites like Care.com and MeetUp.com can help you find affordable housekeepers, date night babysitters, and playgroups for families with similar interests. When you feel more connected with your travel destination community, your kids watch you model essential skills in making friends and forming connections. Plus every parent deserves an opportunity to seem like the glamourous expert traveler and coolest mom in town.
5. Help your kiddo design their space
I like that Taylor Swift song, “Blank Space” but that doesn’t mean I want my walls to be white! Pack some photos of your children’s friends from school or let them pick out some posters at the local craft store. If your child feels like they have some influence in their world, they are a lot more likely to want to go with the flow. Calm, happy kids are every parent’s dream. By helping them decorate their temporary room with things that remind them of their space at home, you can avoid other arguments with your teen that stem from feeling disconnected or alone.
6. Remember that this is an incredible opportunity
Traveling solo can mean less to plan for, but the joy of traveling with children is one you’ll tell stories about. Sure, there may be nights where you get lost off the highway or have something unexpected change your plans. But those aren’t the reasons you do this. You want to travel with your family because it’s exciting to watch your children grow and try new things. You want to be your best self because you’ve started noticing just how much your teen talks like you. You see your kids adjust and change in ways you never imagined. Most of all, you make memories together that one day will be told to your future grandkids.
Okay, I won’t be too sappy, but the point is, you are living a life some people only ever dream about with the joy and support of a loving family. Stress is normal for anyone with kids, but travel nurses know how to grow, adapt, and thrive in any environment.